Combination of Resveratrol with Curcumin fights cancer cells better than either agent alone

July 08, 2009

Researchers at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Karmanos Cancer Center and Wayne State University in Detroit report that a combination of Curcumin, the constituents in the herb Turmeric combined with Resveratrol showed greater inhibitory effects against cancer cells compared with either agent used alone.

The researchers incubated human colon cancer cells with varying concentrations of Curcumin, Resveratrol or both agents combined. Untreated cells served as controls. Although both agents inhibited cell growth dose-dependently, the combination of Curcumin and Resveratrol elicited a greater effect than either extract used separately, suggesting a synergistic benefit. Further experimentation showed that the synergism was effective in both p53 positive and p53 negative colon cancer cells. While Curcumin or Resveratrol alone inhibited the growth of these cells by 15 to 30%, the combination resulted in a 40% inhibition compared to the control cells.

In another experiment in which colon cancer cells were grated into mice, the combination of Resveratrol and Curcumin once again was associated with greater tumor growth inhibition than either therapy alone. The number of cells undergoing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in response to the Curcumin/Resveratrol combination doubled that of treatment with either agent by itself. Activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa-beta (NF-kB), which stimulates the transcription of genes involved in cell survival, was similarly decreased by the administration of Curcumin and Resveratrol stripping the cancer of a major survival mechanism.

Our data show that the combination therapy of Curcumin and Resveratrol is highly effective in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, which could be attributed to inhibition of proliferation and stimulation of apoptosis resulting from attenuation of nuclear NF-kb activity,” the authors write. “The combination of Curcumin and Resveratrol could be an effective preventive/therapeutic strategy for colon cancer,” they conclude. The study is published in the July, 2009 issue of the journal Nutrition and Cancer.