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Studies that prove Curcumin can kill at least 3 types of cancer

Curcumin can kill at least 3 types of cancer

The anticancer properties of curcumin have been widely spoken about, but what are the studies that warrant such claims? Here you will find out more about scientific findings that prove curcumin can kill at least 3 types of cancer.


To understand how curcumin can kill at least 3 types of cancer, we need to understand what are mechanisms associated with the pathology of cancer. First of all, all cancers are associated with the abnormality in the processes of forming cytokines (cell signalling molecules), that when overexpressed, are markers for inflammation and a general signal that your body is sick. Some of these cell signalling processes and pathways include:


Interleukin-1 (IL-1), a pleiotropic cytokine with numerous roles in both physiological and pathological states. It is known to be up regulated in many tumour types and has been implicated as a factor in tumour progression via the expression of metastatic and angiogenic genes and growth factors.

Tumor necrosis factor-(TNF)

Tumor necrosis factor is a cell signaling protein (cytokine) involved in systemic inflammation and is one of the cytokines that make up the acute phase reaction. TNF is secreted by inflammatory cells, which may be involved in inflammation-associated carcinogenesis.

Alpha activated nuclear factor kappaB (NFkappaB)

The nuclear factor NF-κB is a protein complex that controls transcription of DNA, cytokine production and cell survival. This pathway has long been considered a prototypical proinflammatory signaling pathway, largely based on the role of NF-κB in the expression of proinflammatory genes including cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules. NF-kappaB signalling also has a critical role in cancer development and progression, because it provides a mechanistic link between inflammation and cancer, and is a major factor controlling the ability of both pre-neoplastic and malignant cells to resist apoptosis (death)-based tumour-surveillance mechanisms.

Now, that understand what are the mechanisms associated with the pathology of cancer. We can move on to the studies that prove curcumin can kill at least 3 types of cancer

Lung cancer

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The effects of curcumin in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) airway inflammation and lung cancer progression, were tested in an animal model study. Scientists administered to mice, the natural anti-inflammatory agent curcumin, 1% in diet before and during weekly non-typeable Hemophilus influenzae (NTHi ) exposure, which has been associated with the pathology of COPD. It was observed that curcumin significantly reduced the number of visible lung tumors in the absence of NTHi exposure by 85% and in the presence of NTHi exposures by 53%. It is important to note that Nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) is frequently expressed in lung cancer and preneoplastic lesions, and the effect of curcumin in decreasing the migratory and invasive ability of A549 ( lung carcinoma cells) cells by inhibiting adiponectin expression is probably mediated through NF-κB/MMP pathways.

Ovarian carcinoma

In vitro and in vivo experiments of curcumin with and without docetaxel (chemotherapy medication) were done using human ovarian cancer cell lines. It was observed that Curcumin inhibited inducible NF-kappaB activation and suppressed proliferation in vitro. In vivo dose-finding experiments revealed that 500 mg/kg orally was the optimal dose needed to suppress NF-kappaB and signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 activation and decrease angiogenic cytokine expression.

Colorectal cancer

Cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX2), which mediates prostaglandin synthesis during inflammation, and which is selectively overexpressed in colon tumours, is thought to play an important role in colon carcinogenesis. But, a study that tested Human colon epithelial cells (HCEC) and SW480 colon carcinoma against curcumin, concluded that curcumin inhibits COX2 induction by the colon tumour promoters, tumour necrosis factor alpha or fecapentaene-12, which are fecal mutagens that are naturally produced in the human colon and have a role in neoplastic transformation of the colon.

It is important to note that curcumin, not only affects signaling of proteins like tumor necrosis factor-(TNF) or the nuclear factor NF-κB. Curcumin also blocks interleukin-1 (IL-1) signalling, which as previously mentioned has been associated with the pathology of different types cancer. Therefore, the powerful ability to interfere in the mechanisms involved in cancer, make curcumin a natural cancer killer.

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