Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Curcumin compound improves effectiveness of head and neck cancer treatment, study finds

Date:
May 19, 2011
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
A primary reason that head and neck cancer treatments fail is the tumor cells become resistant to chemotherapy drugs. Now, researchers have found that a compound derived from the Indian spice curcumin can help cells overcome that resistance.

A primary reason that head and neck cancer treatments fail is the tumor cells become resistant to chemotherapy drugs. Now, researchers have found that a compound derived from the Indian spice curcumin can help cells overcome that resistance.
Credit: Elzbieta Sekowska / Fotolia

A primary reason that head and neck cancer treatments fail is the tumor cells become resistant to chemotherapy drugs. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that a compound derived from the Indian spice curcumin can help cells overcome that resistance.

When researchers added a curcumin-based compound, called FLLL32, to head and neck cancer cell lines, they were able to cut the dose of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin by four while still killing tumor cells equally as well as the higher dose of cisplatin without FLLL32.

The study appears this week in the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

"This work opens the possibility of using lower, less toxic doses of cisplatin to achieve an equivalent or enhanced tumor kill. Typically, when cells become resistant to cisplatin, we have to give increasingly higher doses. But this drug is so toxic that patients who survive treatment often experience long-term side effects from the treatment," says senior study author Thomas Carey, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology at the U-M Medical School and co-director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

That tumors become resistant to cisplatin is a major reason why head and neck cancer patients frequently see their cancer return or spread. It also plays a big role in why five-year survival for head and neck cancer has not improved in the past three decades.

FLLL32 is designed to sensitize cancer cells at a molecular level to the antitumor effects of cisplatin. It targets a key type of protein called STAT3 that is seen at high levels in about 82 percent of head and neck cancers. High levels of STAT3 are linked to problems with normal cell death processes, which allow cancer cells to survive chemotherapy treatment. STAT3 activation has been associated with cisplatin resistance in head and neck cancer.

Curcumin is known to inhibit STAT3 function, but it is not well-absorbed by the body. FLLL32 was developed by researchers at Ohio State University to be more amenable to use in people. The current study used the compound only in cell lines in the laboratory.

In the current study, researchers compared varying doses of cisplatin alone with varying doses of cisplatin plus FLLL32 against two sets of head and neck cancer cells: one line that was sensitive to cisplatin and one line that was resistant.

They found that FLLL32 decreased the activation levels of STAT3, sensitizing both resistant and sensitive tumor cells to cisplatin. Further, lower doses of cisplatin with FLLL32 were equally effective at killing cancer cells as the higher doses of cisplatin alone.

Separate studies suggest FLLL32 may not be well-absorbed by the body and researchers are developing a next generation compound that they hope improves on that. The U-M team plans to further study this newer compound for its potential as part of head and neck cancer treatment. Clinical trials using this compound are not currently available.

Additional authors include Waleed M. Abuzeid, M.B.B.S.; Samantha Davis, B.S., M.D.; Alice L. Tang, B.A., M.D.; Lindsay Saunders, B.S.; J. Chadwick Brenner, M.S.E.; Emily Light, M.S.; Carol R. Bradford, M.D.; and Mark E.P. Prince, M.D., all from U-M; Jiayuh Lin, Ph.D., from the Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; James R. Fuchs, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University.

Funding was provided by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Head and Neck Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant, National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society

Head and neck cancer statistics: 36,540 Americans will be diagnosed with head and neck cancer this year and 7,880 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. W. M. Abuzeid, S. Davis, A. L. Tang, L. Saunders, J. C. Brenner, J. Lin, J. R. Fuchs, E. Light, C. R. Bradford, M. E. P. Prince, T. E. Carey. Sensitization of Head and Neck Cancer to Cisplatin Through the Use of a Novel Curcumin Analog. Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 2011; 137 (5): 499 DOI: 10.1001/archoto.2011.63

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Curcumin compound improves effectiveness of head and neck cancer treatment, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110519122244.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2011, May 19). Curcumin compound improves effectiveness of head and neck cancer treatment, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110519122244.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Curcumin compound improves effectiveness of head and neck cancer treatment, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110519122244.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins