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Review Article Open Access

The Potential Role of Curcumin in Cancer Prevention and Treatment


Most drugs currently available for the treatment of cancer have limited potential because they are very toxic, highly inefficient in treating cancer, or highly expensive and thus beyond the reach of the majority. Treatments without these disadvantages are needed. Curcumin is one such agent; derived from turmeric (Curcumin longa), it has been used for thousands of years in the orient as a healing agent for variety of illnesses. Research over the last few decades has shown that curcumin is a potent antiinflammatory agent with strong therapeutic potential against a variety of cancers. Curcumin has been shown to suppress transformation, proliferation, and metastasis of tumors. These effects are mediated through its regulation of various transcription factors, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, protein kinases, and other enzymes. Curcumin has been shown to have protective and therapeutic effects against cancers of the blood, skin, oral cavity, lung, pancreas, and intestinal tract, and to suppress angiogenesis and metastasis in rodents. Curcumin's ability to affect gene transcription and to induce apoptosis in preclinical models is likely to be of particular relevance to cancer chemoprevention and chemotherapy in patients. The current review focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which curcumin mediates its effects against various cancers.

A Pramela Rani and V Saikishore

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