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Curcumin, a major yellow pigment and active component of turmeric, has been shown
to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities. Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 plays
an important role in colon carcinogenesis. To investigate the effect of curcumin on
COX-2 expression, we treated HT-29 human colon cancer cells with various concentrations
of curcumin. Curcumin inhibited the cell growth of HT-29 cells in a concentration-
and time-dependent manner. Curcumin markedly inhibited the mRNA and protein expression
of COX-2, but not COX-1. These data suggest that a non-toxic concentration of curcumin
has a significant effect on the in vitro growth of HT-29 cells, specifically inhibits
COX-2 expression, and may have value as a safe chemopreventive agent for colon cancer.