Following the success of the highly active antiretroviral therapy, the potential of multidrug combination regimen for the management of cancer is intensely researched. The anticancer effects of curcumin on some human cell lines have been documented. Lopinavir is a FDA approved protease inhibitor with known apoptotic activities. Dysregulated apoptosis is important for the initiation of cancer while angiogenesis is required for cancer growth and development, this study therefore investigated the effects of the combination of lopinavir and curcumin on cell viability, apoptosis and the mRNA expression levels of key apoptotic and angiogenic genes; BAX, BCL2 and VEGF165b in two human cervical cell lines; human squamous cell carcinoma cells - uterine cervix (HCS-2) and transformed normal human cervical cells (NCE16IIA). The two human cervical cell lines were treated with physiologically relevant concentrations of the agents for 120 h following which BAX, BCL2 and VEGF165b mRNA expression were determined by Real Time qPCR. The Acridine Orange staining for the morphological evaluation of apoptotic cells was also performed. The combination of lopinavir and curcumin up-regulated pro-apoptotic BAX and antiangiogenic VEGF165b but down-regulated the mRNA levels of anti-apoptotic BCL2 mRNA in the human squamous cell carcinoma (HCS-2) cells only. The fold changes were statistically significant. Micrographs from Acridine Orange staining showed characteristic evidence of apoptosis in the human squamous cell carcinoma (HCS-2) cells only. The findings reported here suggest that the combination of curcumin and the FDA approved drug-lopinavir modulate the apoptotic and angiogenic pathway towards the inhibition of cervical cancer.
KEY WORDS:Lopinavir; Curcumin; VEGF165b; BAX; BCL2; Cervical cancer.