Known best as the substance in turmeric that gives the curry spice its characteristic yellow color, curcumin has been found by previous studies to exert antioxidant, anti-inflammation, anticancer, and lipid-lowering effects. Gautam Sethi, from Curtin University (Australia), and colleagues completed a review of past clinical trials involving curcumin for cancer. Observing that the compound confers potent anti-inflammatory effects, the team reports that curcumin is especially effective for multiple myeloma patients and those suffering from pancreatic cancer. Noting that doses up to 12 grams appear to be nontoxic, the investigators point out that curcumin targets the key oncogenic proteins – namely, NF-kappaB, STAT3, and AP-1. The study authors write that: “anti-cancer effects are predominantly mediated through [curcumin’s] negative regulation of various transcription factors, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, protein kinases, and other oncogenic molecules. It also abrogates proliferation of cancer cells by arresting them at different phases of the cell cycle and/or by inducing their apoptosis.”
Shanmugam MK, Rane G, Kanchi MM, Arfuso F, Chinnathambi A, Zayed ME, Alharbi SA, Tan BK, Kumar AP, Sethi G. “The multifaceted role of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment.” Molecules. 2015 Feb 5;20(2):2728-69.