Bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC), a stable bioactive ingredient in curcuminoids, is associated with various antitumor functions, such as proliferation inhibition, metastasis suppression and apoptosis induction, in many cancer types. However, the mechanism of BDMC in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unclear.
We assessed the toxicity and the inhibitory effect of BDMC in the HepG2 cell line by using CCK-8 and colony formation assays. The regulatory effects of BDMC on Akt and MAPK signaling were investigated by Western blotting and immunoprecipitation.
We found that the half-maximum inhibitory concentration (IC50) of BDMC after 48 hrs of treatment was 59.13 μM, and BDMC inhibited proliferation in a time- and dose-dependent manner in HepG2 cells. The inhibitory effect was caused by the inactivation of Akt signaling, but not Erk, Jnk or p38 signaling. In addition, the inactivation of Akt signaling was attributed to the inhibition of ubiquitination mediated by K63-Ub but not K48-Ub. Furthermore, we found that BDMC upregulated the expression of CYLD, leading to Akt deubiquitination and inactivation.