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Curcumin Enhances Bortezomib Treatment of Myeloma by Inhibiting Heat Shock Protein 90 Expression

BM Fang
JH Jiang
XW Zhang
J Fan
XM Tong


Purpose: To investigate whether curcumin augments bortezomib-induced apoptosis in myeloma cells (MM1.R line), and to explore the molecular mechanism with regard to heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) expression.
Methods: MTT cell viability assay was used to assess growth inhibition of MM1.R cells at different concentrations of curcumin alone and also combined with 0.01 mM bortezomib. Annexin V and propidium iodide (PI) labeling were used to detect apoptosis. Caspase 3, caspase 9, NF-κB, and HSP 90 protein expression were measured by Western blotting.
Results: Curcumin alone inhibited MM1.R cell growth and increased apoptosis in a concentration dependent manner. When curcumin was combined with low concentration (0.01 mM) bortezomib, both effects(viability inhibition and apoptosis induction increased (p < 0.05), whereas bortezomib alone had no effect (p > 0.05). Western blotting revealed that for curcumin and combined treatments, expression of the apoptotic markers, caspase 3 and caspase 9, increased while expression of NF-κB and HSP 90 decreased (p < 0.05). Again, low concentration bortezomib alone had no effect, whereas the combined treatment showed the largest effect, thus suggesting that the actions of curcumin and bortezomib are synergistic.
Conclusion: Curcumin increased MM1.R cell sensitivity to bortezomib, which may be due to suppression of NF-κB and HSP90 activity.

Keywords: Curcumin, Bortezomib, Myeloma cells, Cell growth, Apoptosis, Heat shock protein 90

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996