Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) found the anticancer property of curcumin, on examining the link between gastrointestinal hormone, neurotensin and the production of an inflammatory protein that boosts the growth of a variety of cancer cells.
The study published in the current issue of Clinical Cancer Research revealed that curcumin inhibits neurotensin-mediated production of interleukin-8 and migration of HCT116 human colon cancer cells, which has led to the inference that curcumin may help stop growth of colorectal cancer cells, and prevent its spread to other locations in the body.
IL-8 is a potent inflammatory protein which accelerates the growth and spread of a variety of human cancer cells, including colorectal and pancreatic tumor cells. According to the researchers curcumin reduces IL-8 production by inhibiting the signals neurotensin needs to have an effect on IL-8 production.
UTMB surgery professor B. Mark Evers, senior author of the article and director of UTMB's Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology said, "We found that in colon cancer cells, neurotensin increases not just the rate of growth but also other critical things, including cell migration and metastasis."
Curcumin is the yellow pigment found in turmeric, which is a commonly used spice in Indian cuisine and traditional medicine. The low incidence of cancer in India has led several researchers to believe that curry may have certain anticancer functions. Early lab studies have revealed that curcumin fights skin, breast and other tumor cells.
According to a study published in the Oct. 15 2005 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research, Curcumin inhibits the spread of breast cancer to the lungs in mice, The study authors reported that while curcumin not only prevents the progression of breast cancer cells, the adverse effects of Taxol, a breast cancer drug that can trigger spread of breast cancer is aldo reversed.
In another study Dr. Razelle Kurzrock at University of Texas and colleagues successfully treated three melanoma cell lines with curcumin finding that treatment of curcumin induces the death of cancer cells in a dose-responsive manner.
In the United States, diagnosis of colorectal cancer was made in 70,651 men and 68,883 women in 2002 and 28,471 men and 28,132 women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the common risk factors towards colorectal cancer include lack of regular physical activity, obesity low fruit and vegetable intake, as well as alcohol consumption and tobacco use.