Role of Curcumin in Cancer

Updated at: Aug 31, 2012
Role of Curcumin in Cancer

Role of curcumin in cancer – Curcumin, commonly known as turmeric, is often linked to cancer prevention. Learn how curcumin is potent in fighting cancer.

Himanshu Sharma
CancerWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Aug 31, 2012

Curcumin is one of the most unrecognised cancer-preventing agents. Several researches have suggested that it may prevent cancer development. It is a powerful antioxidant and possesses anti-bacterial, anti-viral analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. [Read: Cancer Preventing Foods]
Curcumin and Cancer

  • David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles researchers found that curcumin possesses anti-cancer properties to effect biological phases of cancer, such as mutagenesis, oncogene expression, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, tumorigenesis and metastasis.
  • Reports of National Center for Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggest anti-proliferative effects of curcumin in multiple cancers. Curcumin suppresses cell adhesion molecules involved in tumour growth, angiogenesis and metastasis. The study further suggested turmeric’s role in the prevention of primary liver cancer, viral hepatitis, alcoholism as well as dietary carcinogens, such as aflatoxins and nitrosoamines. [Read: Prevention of Liver Cancer]
  • Researchers at the Jonsson Cancer Center of the University of California noted that a combination of curcumin with cisplatin helps to reduce growth of cancer cells in the head and neck tumours. Furthermore, they suggested that curcumin may also suppress cells in cancers of the breast, colon and pancreas.
  • February 2009 issue of the Brain Research journal published a research report mentioning how the water-soluble formulation of curcumin prevented the formation of brain tumours in mice. The research hinted that a solution of curcumin activates enzymes within the brain and kills cancer cells. [Read: Treatment of Bone Cancer Tumour]
  • According to the University of Maryland Medical Center report, curcumin contains cancer cells from spreading further and becoming tumours.  Anti-proliferate actions of curcumin are due to its ability to block angiogenesis. Researchers suggested that curcumin should be used as a remedy to restrict the growth of cancer rather than medication owing to potent side-effects of medications.
  • A study published in The Prostate journal suggested that managing inflammation is crucial for further staging of prostate cancer. Curcumin helps to contain prostate cancer to the initial levels by decreasing prostate-specific antigen, PSA. Elevated serum PSA level indicates more prostate inflammation that advances prostate cancer. Curcumin may benefit prostate cancer patients, but more research is needed to confirm its positive influence.

Curcumin’s properties may help to impede the spread of cancer cells, but eating turmeric to lower cancer risk for individuals with precancerous condition is inconclusive.

The traditional medicinal practice has been that of using turmeric in various medical treatments for centuries. Modern science studies have been suggesting it as a cancer-preventing agent, but it is important to talk to your doctor before using it as a remedy or supplement to prevent cancer.


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