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Journal of Cancer Prevention

Journal of Korean Association of Cancer prevention 1999; 4(3): 119-126

Published online September 30, 1999

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

Curcumin Inhibits Invasive Phenotype of H-ras Transformed
Human Breast Epithelial Cells and Suppresses Matrix
Metalloproteinase-2 Activity

Mi-Sung Kim and Aree Moon


A growing number of recent studies have focused on anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic
or chemopreventive activities of phytochemicals, particularly those included in human
diet. Curcumin, a dietary pigment in turmeric, has been shown to have a wide range
of biological activities including anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and antimetastatic
effects. In the present study, we attempted to study the possible anti-invasive activity
of curcumin in H-ras transformed MCF10A human breast epithelial cells which have previously
been shown to be highly invasive. Here, we show that curcumin inhibits H-rasinduced
invasive phenotype in MCF10A cells. A significant downregulation of matrix
metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 by curcumin is observed while the activity of MMP-9 is not
changed, suggesting that MMP-2 is more likely involved in the inhibitory effect of
curcumin than MMP-9. We also show that curcumin treatment inhibits cell growth dosedependently
and induces internucleosomal DNA fragmentation in H-ras MCF10A cells
and MCF7 human breast carcinoma cells. These results demonstrate that curcumin induces
apoptosis in transformed human breast epithelial cells and breast carcinoma
cells, suggesting a potential use of curcumin as a chemopreventive agent for breast

Keywords: Curcumin, Invasion, Matrix metalloproteinase, H-ras

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