Growth-inhibitory effect of chitosan-coated liposomes encapsulating curcumin on MCF-7 breast cancer cells

Mahmoud Hasan, Kamil Elkhoury, Nabila Belhaj, Cyril Kahn, Ali Tamayol, Muriel Barberi-Heyob, Elmira Arab-Tehrany, Michel Linder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Current anticancer drugs exhibit limited efficacy and initiate severe side effects. As such, identifying bioactive anticancer agents that can surpass these limitations is a necessity. One such agent, curcumin, is a polyphenolic compound derived from turmeric, and has been widely investigated for its potential anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects over the last 40 years. However, the poor bioavailability of curcumin, caused by its low absorption, limits its clinical use. In order to solve this issue, in this study, curcumin was encapsulated in chitosan-coated nanoliposomes derived from three natural lecithin sources. Liposomal formulations were all in the nanometric scale (around 120 nm) and negatively charged (around −40 mV). Among the three lecithins, salmon lecithin presented the highest growth-inhibitory effect on MCF-7 cells (two times lower growth than the control group for 12 µM of curcumin and four times lower for 20 µM of curcumin). The soya and rapeseed lecithins showed a similar growth-inhibitory effect on the tumor cells. Moreover, coating nanoliposomes with chitosan enabled a higher loading efficiency of curcumin (88% for coated liposomes compared to 65% for the non-coated liposomes) and a stronger growth-inhibitory effect on MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number217
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Breast cancer
  • Chitosan
  • Curcumin
  • Encapsulation
  • Liposomes
  • MCF-7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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