Combination of α-Tomatine and Curcumin Inhibits Growth and Induces Apoptosis in Human Prostate Cancer Cells

Huarong Huang, Xuan Chen, Dongli Li, Yan He, Yu Li, Zhiyun Du, Kun Zhang, Robert DiPaola, Susan Goodin, Xi Zheng

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42 Scopus citations


α-Tomatine is a glycoalkaloid found in tomatoes and curcumin is a major yellow pigment of turmeric. In the present study, the combined effect of these two compounds on prostate cancer cells was studied. Treatment of different prostate cancer cells with curcumin or α- tomatine alone resulted in growth inhibition and apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Combinations of α-tomatine and curcumin synergistically inhibited the growth and induced apoptosis in prostate cancer PC-3 cells. Effects of the α-tomatine and curcumin combination were associated with synergistic inhibition of NF-κB activity and a potent decrease in the expression of its downstream gene Bcl-2 in the cells. Moreover, strong decreases in the levels of phospho-Akt and phosphor-ERK1/2 were found in PC-3 cells treated with α-tomatine and curcumin in combination. In animal experiment, SCID mice with PC-3 xenograft tumors were treated with α-tomatine and curcumin. Combination of α-tomatine and curcumin more potently inhibited the growth of PC-3 tumors than either agent alone. Results from the present study indicate that α-tomatine in combination with curcumin may be an effective strategy for inhibiting the growth of prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0144293
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Guangdong Province, Leadership grant 2011 (, National Natural Science Foundation of China, 81272452, 21102020 and 21272043 (, National Cancer Institute, P30-CA072720 (http://www. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors dedicate this paper to Dr. Allan H. Conney, an outstanding and widely recognized cancer researcher who passed away on September 10, 2013.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Huanget al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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