Curcumin may slow tumour growth: Study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cancer, Prostate cancer

Intake of curcumin at ‘physiologically attainable’ doses could help to slow the development of prostate cancers by jamming receptors linked to cancer tumour growth, say researchers.

The study – published in Cancer Research​ – reports that the turmeric spice isoflavone could help to slow the growth of tumours in prostate cancers by blocking the receptors for certain molecular pathways that have been shown to play a role in the development of prostate cancers in addition to reducing the effectiveness of some cancer therapies.

Led by Dr Karen Knudsen of Thomas Jefferson University, the research team found that “physiologically attainable”​ doses curcumin suppresses two genetic receptors – p300 and CPB (or CREB1-binding protein). They said the two receptors have been linked to the incidence of certain types of cancer, and also act as a predictor of tumour growth. The receptors are also known to work against cancer therapies such as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).

By blocking the receptors, the team found that the spice extract was “a potent inhibitor of both cell cycle and survival in prostate cancer cells.”

Knudsen said the findings may also have implications beyond prostate cancer, “since p300 and CBP are important in other malignancies, like breast cancer.”

“In tumours where these play an important function, curcumin may prove to be a promising therapeutic agent,”​ she said, noting that an important function of the current study was to show that curcumin has such effects at “physiologically attainable”​ doses – as some previous studies reporting similar results proposed doses that were not realistic.

Curcumin promise

Curcumin, the natural pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow colour, has increasingly come under the scientific spotlight in recent years, with studies investigating its potential health benefits.

As a result, curcumin has been linked to a range of health benefits, including potential protection against prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, protection against heart failure, diabetes, and arthritis.

However curcumin was among a host of herbs claiming joint health benefits to be delivered negative article 13.1 opinions by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in February 2010.

Source: Cancer Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-0943
“Targeting pioneering factor and hormone receptor cooperative pathways to suppress tumor progression”
​Authors: S.A. Shah​, S. Prasad​, K.E. Knudsen

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