IUBMB life

Artemisinin and curcumin inhibit Drosophila brain tumor, prolong life span, and restore locomotor activity.

PMID 24975030


Deletion of tumor suppressor gene, lethal(2)giant larvae [l(2)gl], leads to brain tumor in Drosophila melanogaster at larval stage of development and severe brain dysplasia in mice. We have studied the effect of two potential antitumor drugs artemisinin and curcumin in the perspective of inhibiting l(2)gl brain tumor. Efficacies of these drugs are characterized morphologically by measuring brain sizes of untreated and treated larvae on the basis of tumor inhibition and anatomically by looking at the cellular patterning via antibody staining of the third instar Drosophila larval brains. Behavioral experiments were done in form of locomotion to correlate tumor inhibition with the revival of brain function and longevity assays to assess general health span. It was observed that both drugs show antitumor properties individually and in combination when larvae were treated with these drugs. We also found evidence for reactive oxygen species-mediated action of these drugs. Both the drugs when treated individually or together show better median life span and locomotory response. Although the efficacies of various treatments varied, overall, the positive effects of artemisinin and curcumin demonstrate a potential applicability of these drugs against brain tumor in higher organisms. It also paves a way for a simpler model system for screening such natural products for antitumor property.