Abstract Title:

Curcumin-induced downregulation of Axl receptor tyrosine kinase inhibits cell proliferation and circumvents chemoresistance in non-small lung cancer cells.

Abstract Source:

Int J Oncol. 2015 Oct 21. Epub 2015 Oct 21. PMID: 26498137

Abstract Author(s):

Kyung-Chan Kim, Suk-Hwan Baek, Chuhee Lee

Article Affiliation:

Kyung-Chan Kim


Lung cancer is still in the first place in terms of both incidence and mortality. In the present study, we demonstrated the effect of curcumin, a phytochemical of the plant Curcuma longa, on expression and activation of Axl receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) which plays an important role in cell survival, proliferation and anti-apoptosis. Curcumin treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) A549 and H460 cells, was found to decrease Axl protein as well as mRNA levels in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Axl promoter activity was also reduced by curcumin, indicating that curcumin downregulates Axl expression at the transcriptional level. Moreover, Axl phosphorylation in response to binding of its ligand, Gas6, was abrogated by curcumin, suggesting the inhibitory effect of curcumin on Gas6-induced Axl activation. We next found cytotoxic effect of cucumin on both the parental A549 and H460 cells, and their variants which are resistant to cisplatin (A549/CisR and H460/CisR) and paclitaxel (A549/TR and H460/TR). Exposure of these cells to curcumin resulted in dose-dependent decline of cell viability and clonogenic ability. It is further observed that the anti-proliferative effect of curcumin on A549 cells overexpressing Axl protein was reduced, while that on H460 cells transfected Axl specific siRNA was augmented, confirming that curcumin inhibits cell proliferation via downregulation of Axl expression. In addition, curcumin was found to cause the induction of p21, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, and reduction of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), an anti-apoptotic molecule, in parental H460 cells as well as chemoresistant cells, H460/CisR and H460/TR. Taken together, our data imply that Axl RTK is a novel target of curcumin through which it exerts anti-proliferative effect in both parental and chemoresistant NSCLC cells.

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