J Cancer 2017; 8(7):1271-1283. doi:10.7150/jca.17176

Research Paper

Photodynamic Treatment of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells with Low Curcumin Concentrations

Kim Beyer1, 2, Frangis Nikfarjam1, 2, Manuel Butting1, Markus Meissner1, Anke König1, Ana Ramirez Bosca3, Roland Kaufmann1, Detlef Heidemann2, August Bernd1, Stefan Kippenberger1, Nadja Zöller1✉

1. J.W. Goethe-University, Medical School, Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt/Main, Germany;
2. Department of Operative Dentistry, Center for Dentistry and Oral Medicine (Carolinum), J.W. Goethe-University Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt/Main, Germany.
3. Servico De Dermatologia. Hospital Vinalopo, Tónico Sansano Mora 14, 03293 Elche, Spain.


Objective: Curcumin is known for its anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic qualities at concentrations ranging from 3.7µg/ml to 55µg/ml. Therefore it is pre-destined for tumour therapy. Due to high oral doses that have to be administered and the low bioavailability of curcumin new therapy concepts have to be developed. One of these therapy concepts is the combination of low curcumin concentrations and UVA or visible light. Aim of our study was to investigate the influence of this treatment regime on oral squamous cell carcinoma cells.

Materials and Methods: A human oral squamous cell carcinoma cell line (HN) was pre-incubated with low curcumin concentrations (0.01µg/ml to 1µg/ml). Thereafter cell cultures were either left un-irradiated or were irradiated either with 1J/cm2 UVA or for 5min with visible light. Quantitative analysis of proliferation, membrane integrity, oxidative potential and DNA fragmentation were done.

Results: It could be shown that low curcumin concentrations neither influenced proliferation, nor cell morphology, nor cell integrity nor apoptosis. When combining these curcumin concentrations with UVA or visible light irradiation cell proliferation as well as development of reactive oxygen species was reduced whereas DNA fragmentation was increased. Concentration as well as light entity specific effects could be observed.

Conclusions: The present findings substantiate the potential of the combination of low curcumin concentrations and light as a new therapeutic concept to increase the efficacy of curcumin in the treatment of cancer of the oral mucosa.

Keywords: head and neck cancer, curcumin, apoptosis, proliferation, UVA, VIS.

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How to cite this article:
Beyer K, Nikfarjam F, Butting M, Meissner M, König A, Ramirez Bosca A, Kaufmann R, Heidemann D, Bernd A, Kippenberger S, Zöller N. Photodynamic Treatment of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells with Low Curcumin Concentrations. J Cancer 2017; 8(7):1271-1283. doi:10.7150/jca.17176. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v08p1271.htm