Low Doses ofCurcuma longaModulates Cell Migration and Cell–Cell Adhesion

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Cell invasion and metastasis are involved in clinical failures in cancer treatment, and both events require the acquisition of a migratory behavior by tumor cells. Curcumin is a promising natural product with anti-proliferative activity, but its effects on cell migration are still unclear. We evaluated the effects of curcumin on the proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and cell–cell adhesion of keratinocyte, oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), and fibroblast cell lines, as well as in a xenograft model of OSCC. Curcumin (2 μM) decreased cell proliferation in cell lines with mesenchymal characteristics, while cell death was detected only at 50 μM. We observed that highly migratory cells showed a decrease on migration speed and directionality when treated with 2 or 5 μM of curcumin (50% and 40%, respectively,p< 0.05). Using spheroids, we observed that curcumin dose dependently decreased cell–cell adhesion, especially on tumor-derived spheroids. Also, in a xenograft model with patient-derived OSCC cells, the administration of curcumin decreased tumor growth and aggressiveness when compared with untreated tumors, indicating the potential antitumor effect in oral cancer. These results suggest that lower doses of curcumin can influence several steps involved in tumorigenesis, including migration properties, suggesting a possible use in cancer therapy.

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