Objective: Incidence rates of colon and liver cancers differ dramatically between Northern vs. Southern India. It has been suggested that differences in regional diet may play a role, specifically in the disparity in consumption rates of curcumin, an active agent of turmeric, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound in green tea. Curcumin and EGCG have well-known multi-targeted and beneficial effects as chemopreventive agents. However, natural compounds typically require high concentrations to be effective, which can also negatively impact healthy cells. Alternatively, low-dose combination of these compounds, if proven effective, may be one way to avoid this problem. This study proposed to demonstrate the effects of individual and combined treatments of EGCG and curcumin on viability and cancer pathway signaling, in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and colorectal cancer (CCR) cell lines.
Methods: HCC and CCR cell lines (HepG2 and SW1417, respectively) were treated with curcumin and EGCG in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Regorafenib, a chemotherapeutic used to treat colon and liver cancers, was then combined with the effective low-dose EGCG/curcumin. Cell viability, proliferation, and expression of cancer target genes were assessed.
Results: Low-dose combination of curcumin and EGCG influenced the expression of 28 cancer target genes in HepG2 and 14 genes in SW1417. Six of these targets were verified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Regorafenib treatment elicited an effect similar to curcumin + EGCG treatment in a number of these targets and enhanced their regulation when used in combination.
Conclusions: Low-dose combinations of curcumin and EGCG have a beneficial effect on regulating important cancer targets in HepG2 and SW1417 cell lines. The data suggest a supportive role for phytochemicals as complementary treatments to chemotherapy.
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