BACKGROUND/AIMS: The effects of curcumin on the growth of human colon cancer cell lines, HT-29 and WiDr cells were examined and the effects of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) were also studied. METHODS: The growth of HT-29 and WiDr cells were examined by counting cell number on two and four days treatment with 1-40 microm of curcumin, and 0.1 microg/mL, 0.3 microg/mL of 5-FU. The reversibility of curcumin was examined on one day to seven days treatment with 10 microm curcumin after seeding to 2 x 10(4) cells/well. To examine the inhibitory effects of curcumin, cell cycle analysis was done on the HT-29 cells after four days treatment with 20 microm curcumin. RESULTS: Curcumin inhibited the growth of HT-29 and WiDr cells in a dose-dependent fashion. The growth rate of the group in which curcumin was removed by media change 24 hours after the treatment of curcumin was not different from that of control group. Curcumin combined with 5-FU markedly inhibited the growth of HT-29 and WiDr cells compared to curcumin or 5-FU alone. After four days treatment of HT-29 cells with 20 microm curcumin, the fraction of cells in G2-M phase was 35.3% in curcumin group, much higher than 13.8% of the control group. CONCLUSIONS: Curcumin significantly inhibited the growth of HT-29 and WiDr cells in a dose-dependent, reversible fashion.
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