Biophysical Evaluation of Water-Soluble Curcumin Encapsulated in β-Cyclodextrins on Colorectal Cancer Cells

Zhi Xuan Low, Michelle Yee Mun Teo, Fariza Juliana Nordin, Firli Rahmah Primula Dewi, Vijayaraj Kumar Palanirajan, Lionel Lian Aun In

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Curcumin (CUR), a curcuminoid originating from turmeric root, possesses diverse pharmacological applications, including potent anticancer properties. However, the use of this efficacious agent in cancer therapy has been limited due to low water solubility and poor bioavailability. To overcome these problems, a drug delivery system was established as an excipient allowing improved dispersion in aqueous media coupled with enhanced in vitro anticancer effects. Different analyses such as UV–vis spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), solubility and dissolution assays were determined to monitor the successful encapsulation of CUR within the inner cavity of a β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) complex. The results indicated that water solubility was improved by 205.75-fold compared to pure CUR. Based on cytotoxicity data obtained from MTT assays, the inclusion complex exhibited a greater decrease in cancer cell viability compared to pure CUR. Moreover, cancer cell migration rates were decreased by 75.5% and 38.92%, invasion rates were decreased by 37.7% and 35.7%, while apoptosis rates were increased by 26.3% and 14.2%, and both caused caspase 3 activation toward colorectal cancer cells (SW480 and HCT116 cells). This efficacious formulation that enables improved aqueous dispersion is potentially useful and can be extended for various chemotherapeutic applications. Preliminary toxicity evaluation also indicated that its composition can be safely used in humans for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12866
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • anticancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • curcumin
  • cyclodextrin
  • encapsulation
  • inclusion complex
  • solubility


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