Impact of Fixed-Dose Combination of Germacrone, Curdione, and Furanodiene on Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Laboratory Animal Sciences, Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), Beijing, China

2 Department of Pharmacology, Tibet Nationalities Institute, Xianyang, China

3 State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macao, China


Herb combination has been very popular in traditional medical prescriptions such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Persistent efforts and attempts have been made to dissect the action mode of TCM in recent years, which has provided certain evidence for inter-herbal interactions. However, the interactions among different components in a single herb have been largely neglected. Materials and Methods: In this experimental study, the interactions among different components of a single herb were explored. The effect of three main sesquiterpenes (germacrone, curdione, furanodiene) isolated from Curcuma WenyujinY.H.Chenet C Ling on MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cell proliferation alone or in combination with a fixed-dose-combination was investigated. Results: Furanodiene significantly inhibited cancer cell proliferation while germacrone and curdione showed no effect. Germacrone enhanced furanodiene’s anti-proliferative effect. Curdione showed no effect on furanodiene’s anti-proliferative effect but partly reversed the anti-proliferative effect of germacrone and furanodiene combined. The morphological and mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) changes showed similar results. However, they demonstrated complicated interactions on the expression of apoptotic-related proteins and key signal transduction proteins. Conclusion: Unpredictable and complex interactions among different components in Curcuma WenyujinY.H.Chenet C Ling may exist. The intra-herb interactions should be taken into consideration when attempts are made to interpret the art of TCM formulation or other similar recipes.