Difluorinated-Curcumin (CDF): A Novel Curcumin Analog is a Potent Inhibitor of Colon Cancer Stem-Like Cells
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Recurrence of colon cancer, which affects nearly 50% of patients treated by conventional therapeutics, is thought to be due to re-emergence of chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem/stem-like cells (CSCs). Therefore, development of therapeutic strategies for targeted elimination of CSCs would be a novel strategy. The current study examines whether diflourinated-curcumin (CDF), a novel analog of the dietary ingredient of curcumin, in combination with 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin (5-FU + Ox), the mainstay of colon cancer chemotherapeutic, would be effective in eliminating colon CSCs.
Multiple methodologies that include real-time RT-PCR, Western blot, MTT assay, caspase-3 activity, colonosphere formation, Hoechst-33342 dye exclusion and NF-κB-ELISA were used.
We observed that CDF together with 5-FU + Ox were more potent than curcumin in reducing CD44 and CD166 in chemo-resistant colon cancer cells, accompanied by inhibition of growth, induction of apoptosis and disintegration of colonospheres. These changes were associated with down-regulation of the membrane transporter ABCG2 and attenuation of EGFR, IGF-1R, and NF-κB signaling consistent with inactivation of β-catenin, COX-2, c-Myc and Bcl-xL and activation of the pro-apoptotic Bax.
Our results suggest that CDF together with the conventional chemotherapeutics could be an effective treatment strategy for preventing the emergence of chemo-resistant colon cancer cells by eliminating CSCs.
KEY WORDSβ-catenin chemo-resistance NF-κB oxaliplatin 5-fluorouracil
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (5RO1 AG014343) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (A.P.N.M.) and from the National Cancer Institute, NIH (3RO1 CA131151-02) (F.H.S).
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