Curcuminoids block TGF-β signaling in human breast cancer cells and limit osteolysis in a murine model of breast cancer bone metastasis

Laura E. Wright, Jennifer B. Frye, Ashley L. Lukefahr, Barbara N. Timmermann, Khalid S. Mohammad, Theresa A. Guise, Janet L. Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Effects of curcuminoids on breast cancer cell secretion of the bone-resorptive peptide parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) and on lytic breast cancer bone metastasis were evaluated. In vitro, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-stimulated PTHrP secretion was inhibited by curcuminoids (IC50 = 24 μM) in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells independent of effects on cell growth inhibition. Effects on TGF-β signaling revealed decreases in phospho-Smad2/3 and Ets-1 protein levels with no effect on p-38 MAPK-mediated TGF-β signaling. In vivo, mice were inoculated with MDA-MB-231 cells into the left cardiac ventricle and treated ip every other day with curcuminoids (25 or 50 mg/kg) for 21 days. Osteolytic bone lesion area was reduced up to 51% (p < 0.01). Consistent with specific effects on bone osteolysis, osteoclast number at the bone-tumor interface was reduced up to 53% (p < 0.05), while tumor area within bone was unaltered. In a separate study, tumor mass in orthotopic mammary xenografts was also unaltered by treatment. These data suggest that curcuminoids prevent TGF-β induction of PTHrP and reduce osteolytic bone destruction by blockade of Smad signaling in breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-321
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Natural Products
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 22 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Organic Chemistry

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