Background/Aim: Dichloroacetate (DCA) and curcumin have been shown to be potent drug candidates in cancer therapy. Our study aimed to investigate the combined effects of DCA and essential oil-blended curcumin (ECUR) using the hepatoma Huh-7 cell model. Materials and Methods: Muse™ Cell Cycle assay, Muse™ Annexin V & Dead Cell assay, Muse™ Oxidative Stress assay, and western blot analysis were applied to explore the underlying mechanisms. Results: DCA combined with ECUR dramatically augmented inhibition of cell survival and enhanced apoptotic induction. The enhanced apoptosis was accompanied by mitochondria-dependent apoptotic signaling activation and corroborated with significant cellular morphological alternations. Conclusion: Apoptosis was the major event contributing to the synergistically boosted antiproliferative effect. Coupling DCA treatment with curcumin may rationally be expected to lower the DCA dose needed and relatively reduce accompanying toxicity and oxidative damage while enhancing anticancer potential. This novel 'add-on' approach is, thus, of enormous value to the current DCA therapy.
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