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Open AccessReview

Curcumin: New Insights into an Ancient Ingredient against Cancer

1
Department of Internal Medicine V: Hematology and Oncology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020, Austria
2
Department of Clinical Oncology, BINOR Cancer Hospital, Bannu 28100, Pakistan
3
Department of Molecular Biology, Laboratorio Blau, Caracas 1071, Venezuela
4
Department of Oncology and Hematology, University of Milan, European Institute of Oncology, 20122 Milan, Italy
5
Medical Oncology Department, KAMC NGHA, Riyadh 14413, Saudi Arabia
6
Oncotyrol, Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy, Innsbruck 6020, Austria
7
Oncologic Day Hospital, 39042 Bressanone, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(8), 1808; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20081808
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Curcumin in Health and Disease)
Cancer patients frequently use complementary medicine. Curcumin (CUR) and its derivates (from the extract of Curcuma longa L.) represent some of the most frequently used ones, having a long history in traditional Asian medicine. CUR was demonstrated, both in vitro and in vivo, to have significant anti-inflammatory effects, thus potentially counteracting cancer-promoting inflammation, which is a hallmark of cancer. CUR modulate a plethora of signaling pathways in cancer cells, comprising the NF-κB (nuclear factor k-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells), the JAK/STAT (Janus-Kinase/Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription), and the TGF-β (transforming growth factor-β) pathways. Furthermore, CUR confers properties of electron receptors, which destabilize radical oxygen species (ROS), explaining its antioxidant and anti-apopototic effects. Although CUR has a low bioavailability, its role in advanced cancer treatment and supportive care was addressed in numerous clinical trials. After promising results in phase I–II trials, multiple phase III trials in different indications are currently under way to test for direct anti-cancer effects. In addition, CUR exerts beneficial effects on cancer treatment-related neurotoxcity, cardiotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, hemato-toxicity, and others. More efficient galenic formulations are tested to optimze CUR’s usability in cancer treatment. This review should provide a comprehensive overview of basic science, and pre-clinical and clinical data on CUR in the field of oncology. View Full-Text
Keywords: curcumin; complementary medicine; cancer treatment; supportive care; antioxidants; anti-inflamation curcumin; complementary medicine; cancer treatment; supportive care; antioxidants; anti-inflamation
MDPI and ACS Style

Willenbacher, E.; Khan, S.Z.; Mujica, S.C.A.; Trapani, D.; Hussain, S.; Wolf, D.; Willenbacher, W.; Spizzo, G.; Seeber, A. Curcumin: New Insights into an Ancient Ingredient against Cancer. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 1808.

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