A recent paper on curcumin/turmeric sums up the incredible scientific research on this simple cooking aid and cancer.
“A huge number of compounds are widely distributed in nature and many of these possess medicinal/biological/pharmacological activity. Curcumin, a polyphenol derived from the rhizomes (underground stems) of Curcuma longa Linn (a member of the ginger family, commonly known as turmeric) is a culinary spice and therapeutic used in India for thousands of years to induce color and flavor in food as well as to treat a wide array of diseases
Most importantly curcumin possesses immense antitumorigenic effect. It prevents tumor invasion and metastasis in a number of animal models, including models of lung, liver, stomach, colon, breast, esophageal cancer etc. Curcumin has also demonstrated the ability to improve patient outcomes in clinical trials.”1
The research is overwhelming but can be summarized here:
- Curcumin, an antioxidant found in the curry spice turmeric, has been found to slow or limit the activity of the HPV virus, which causes oral and cervical cancers.2
- Curcumin can cause lung cancer cell death.3 When combined with chitosan (more popularly known weight loss aid) it is effective in combating certain lung cancers.14
- Based on medical literature review, curcumin, green tea, and resveratrol showed satisfactory instances of clinical evidence for supporting their anticancer effects.3
- Curcumin suppresses breast cancer cell growth.4,5,23
- Curcumin is a potential chemopreventive agent for treating certain cancers and other chronic inflammatory diseases.6 It can make chemotherapy more effective in cases of colon cancer.7
- Curcumin may be a valuable nutritional supplement in pancreatic cancer.8
- Curcumin may have a preventive effect on bone loss induced by breast cancer cell bone metastasis.9 Curcumin causes cancer cell death in large cell bone tumors.16
- Curcumin may inhibit liver cancer growth.10
- Curcumin may inhibit leukemia.11
- Curcumin could be used as a novel and effective approach for the treatment of melanoma.12,21
- Curcumin can be invaluable in assisting patients with Prostate Cancer.13
- When mixed with certain fatty acids, made a potent anti-oxidant, non-toxic, tumor inhibitor and combatant.15
- Curcumin acts as a cancer prevention element.17
- Curcumin and whey protein is an enhanced colon cancer prevention mix.18
- Curcumin may be effective in fighting brain cancer 19
- Research published in the British Journal of Cancer found that curcumin killed esophageal cancer cells in the lab within 24 hours of application.20
- Curcumin acts as a cancer prevention element in renal cell carcinoma.21
Research summaries: “Overall. . . curcumin can kill a wide variety of tumor cell types through diverse mechanisms. Because of numerous mechanisms of cell death employed by curcumin, it is possible that cells may not develop resistance to curcumin-induced cell death.”22
“Despite significant advances in treatment modalities over the last decade, neither the incidence of the disease nor the mortality due to cancer has altered in the last thirty years. Available anti-cancer drugs exhibit limited efficacy, associated with severe side effects, and are also expensive.
Thus identification of pharmacological agents that do not have these disadvantages is required.
Curcumin. . . is one such agent that has been extensively studied over the last three to four decades for its potential anti-inflammatory and/or anti-cancer effects.
Curcumin has been found to suppress initiation, progression, and metastasis of a variety of tumors. “24
Diet and nutritional counseling are part of a comprehensive cancer program – to learn more about ours please see Our Cancer Support Program.
1 Bandyopadhyay D. Farmer to pharmacist: curcumin as an anti-invasive and antimetastatic agent for the treatment of cancer. Frontiers in Chemistry. 2014;2:113. doi:10.3389/fchem.2014.00113.
2. Alok Mishra. Curcumin modulates cellular AP-1, NF-kB, and HPV16 E6 proteins in oral cancer. ecancermedicalscience, 2015; 9 DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2015.525
2. Zhou GZ, Cao FK, Du SW. Biomed Pharmacother. 2015 Apr;71:128-34. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2015.02.025. Epub 2015 Mar 4.The apoptotic pathways in the curcumin analog MHMD-induced lung cancer cell death and the essential role of actin polymerization during apoptosis.
3. Hosseini A, Ghorbani A. Cancer therapy with phytochemicals: evidence from clinical studies.Avicenna J Phytomed. 2015 Mar-Apr;5(2):84-97.
4. Coleman DT, Soung YH, Surh YJ, Cardelli JA, Chung J. Curcumin Prevents Palmitoylation of Integrin β4 in Breast Cancer Cells. PLoS One. 2015 May 4;10(5):e0125399. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125399. eCollection 2015.
5. Cao F, Liu T, Xu Y, Xu D, Feng S. Curcumin inhibits cell proliferation and promotes apoptosis in human osteoclastoma cell through MMP-9, NF-κB and JNK signaling pathways. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 Jun 1;8(6):6037-45. eCollection 2015.
6. Nahar PP, Slitt AL, Seeram NP. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Novel Standardized Solid Lipid Curcumin Formulations. J Med Food. 2014 Dec 9. [Epub ahead of print]
7. Shakibaei M, Buhrmann C, Kraehe P, Shayan P, Lueders C, Goel A. Curcumin Chemosensitizes 5-Fluorouracil Resistant MMR-Deficient Human Colon Cancer Cells in High Density Cultures. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 3;9(1):e85397. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085397.
8. Pericleous M, Rossi RE, Mandair D, Whyand T, Caplin ME. Nutrition and pancreatic cancer. Anticancer Res. 2014 Jan;34(1):9-21.
9. Yamaguchi M, Zhu S, Zhang S, Wu D, Moore TM, Snyder JP, Shoji M. Curcumin analogue UBS109 prevents bone loss in breast cancer bone metastasis mouse model: involvement in osteoblastogenesis and osteoclastogenesis. Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Apr 11. [Epub ahead of print]
10. Li PM1, Li YL, Liu B, Wang WJ, Wang YZ, Li Z. Curcumin Inhibits MHCC97H Liver Cancer Cells by Activating ROS/TLR-4/Caspase Signaling Pathway. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(5):2329-34.
11. Guo Y, Shan Q, Gong Y, Lin J, Shi F, Shi R, Yang X. Curcumin induces apoptosis via simultaneously targeting AKT/mTOR and RAF/MEK/ERK survival signaling pathways in human leukemia THP-1 cells. Pharmazie. 2014 Mar;69(3):229-33.
12. Jiang AJ, Jiang G, Li LT, Zheng JN. Curcumin induces apoptosis through mitochondrial pathway and caspases activation in human melanoma cells. Mol Biol Rep. 2014 Sep 28. [Epub ahead of print]
13. Chen QH. Curcumin-Based Anti-Prostate Cancer Agents. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2015 Jan 16. [Epub ahead of print]
14. Teong B, Lin CY, Chang SJ, Niu GC, Yao CH, Chen IF, Kuo SM. Enhanced anti-cancer activity by curcumin-loaded hydrogel nanoparticle derived aggregates on A549 lung adenocarcinoma cells. J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2015 Jan;26(1):5357. Epub 2015 Jan 17.
15. Potter E, Jha M, Bhullar KS, Rupasinghe HP, Balzarini J, Jha A.Investigation of fatty acid conjugates of 3,5-bisarylmethylene-4-piperidone derivatives as antitumor agents and human topoisomerase-IIα inhibitors. Bioorg Med Chem. 2014 Dec 26. pii: S0968-0896(14)00890-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2014.12.042. [Epub ahead of print]
15. Cao F, Liu T, Xu Y, Xu D, Feng S. Curcumin inhibits cell proliferation and promotes apoptosis in human osteoclastoma cell through MMP-9, NF-κB and JNK signaling pathways. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 Jun 1;8(6):6037-45. eCollection 2015.
16. Li Y, Zhang LP, Dai F, Yan WJ, Wang HB, Tu ZS, Zhou B. Hexamethoxylated mono-carbonyl analogs of curcumin cause G2/M cell cycle arrest in NCI-H460 cells via Michael acceptor-dependent redox intervention. J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Aug 8. [Epub ahead of print]
18 Jayaprakasha GK, Chidambara Murthy KN, Patil BS. Enhanced colon cancer chemoprevention of curcumin by nanoencapsulation with whey protein. Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Jul 9. pii: S0014-2999(16)30447-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2016.07.017. [Epub ahead of print]
19. Hossain MM, Banik NL, Ray SK. Synergistic anti-cancer mechanisms of curcumin and paclitaxel for growth inhibition of human brain tumor stem cells and LN18 and U138MG cells. Neurochem Int. 2012 Aug 13. [Epub ahead of print]
21 Bill MA, Nicholas C, Mace TA, Etter JP, Li C, Schwartz EB, Fuchs JR, Young GS, Lin L, Lin J, He L, Phelps M, Li PK, Lesinski GB. Structurally Modified Curcumin Analogs Inhibit STAT3 Phosphorylation and Promote Apoptosis of Human Renal Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma Cell Lines. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e40724. Epub 2012 Aug 10.
22 Ravindran J, Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin and Cancer Cells: How Many Ways Can Curry Kill Tumor Cells Selectively? The AAPS Journal. 2009;11(3):495-510. doi:10.1208/s12248-009-9128-x.
23 Wang Y, Yu J, Cui R, Lin J, Ding X. Curcumin in Treating Breast Cancer: A Review. J Lab Autom. 2016 Jun 20. pii: 2211068216655524. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
24. Shanmugam MK, Rane G, Kanchi MM, Arfuso F, Chinnathambi A, Zayed ME, Alharbi SA, Tan BK, Kumar AP, Sethi G. The multifaceted role of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment. Molecules. 2015 Feb 5;20(2):2728-69. doi: 10.3390/molecules20022728. Review.