Non-Toxic Agents Added To Conventional Chemotherapy Decrease Survival Of Colon Cancer Cells

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Researchers from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit today presented findings showing that adding curcumin or resveratrol to conventional chemotherapy could be effective in preventing the growth of chemo-resistant colon cancer cells. The poster presentation was delivered at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Anti-inflammatory properties and other health benefits have long been associated with curcumin and resveratrol. Curcumin, from the ginger family, is in the Indian curry spice turmeric and is prevalent throughout India and Southeast Asia. Resveratrol is produced naturally by plants and is found in the skin of red grapes and in peanuts.

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Karmanos researchers investigated whether the addition of non-toxic substances curcumin and resveratrol to chemotherapy (FOLFOX) would decrease the survival of colon cancer cells. Studies confirmed that both are effective and inhibit the growth of new colon cancer cells, with curcumin appearing to be superior.

Adhip Majumdar, Ph.D., D.Sc., Bhaumik B. Patel, M.D., Deep-Shikha Gupta, and Vivek Sengupta from Karmanos and Wayne State University, performed a 48-hour treatment of colon cancer HCT-116 or HT-29 cells with FOLFOX (25 micrometers 5-FU+0.625 micrometers oxaliplatin). When FOLFOX surviving colon cancer cells were treated for another 48-hours with FOLFOX together with curcumin or resveratrol, the combination therapy showed a better response rate.

"Patients with advanced colon cancer often have a cancer recurrence resulting from cancer cells that survive chemotherapy. This research could eventually lead to a more robust therapy, particularly if we can lower the dose of chemotherapy, and add non-toxic agents," said Dr. Majumdar.

"Some day the addition of curcumin or resveratrol could become a treatment strategy for colon cancer patients and help prolong life. Currently, despite advances in medicine, mortality rates remain unacceptably high for late stage disease. Our work is helping to lay the ground work for future clinical trials," added Dr. Patel.

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