More than many other age-linked diseases, cancer results from the accumulative effect of years of small-scale offenses on the body. Inflammation, oxidation, stress, infection, and other physiological assaults exact their dues, wreaking dangerous damage over time that sets abnormal cell proliferation in motion. There is an urgent need to provide ageing bodies with authenticated interventions to target cancer’s multiple causative factors — sometimes even before they take hold.

Among the most persuasive and under-renowned of these validated therapies is curcumin. Curcumin has emerged as a potent multimodal cancer-preventing agent, with 870 published studies appearing in scientific literature globally in the past year alone!

The latest research demonstrates curcumin’s power to disrupt specific molecular mechanisms that lead to cancer — and, to treat the disease in many cases, and found to be particularly effective in certain kinds of cancers in women, prostate cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer.

Curcumin intervenes at each stage in the complex sequence of events that must occur in order for a cancer to develop, progress, invade, and ultimately metastasize to healthy tissue.

System-wide, safe, multimodal defense

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers of curcumin are the foundation of its ability to prevent and treat cancer, since cancer is caused by inflammation and oxidative stress, meaning, among other things, that DNA has been damaged, impairing the ability of cells to reproduce perfectly.

The staid and highly respected MD Anderson Cancer Centre has expressed uncharacteristic enthusiasm about curcumin’s anti-cancer properties. In a 2003 statement by researchers published in the Journal Anti-cancer Research: “Extensive research over the last 50 years has indicated it can prevent and treat cancer… curcumin can supress tumour initiation, promotion and metastases.”

In fact, curcumin targets ten causative factors involved in cancer development. Disrupting any one of these factors gives you a good chance of preventing cancer; disrupting several provides even greater protection, including the prevention of DNA damage.

Research has shown that by blocking the inflammatory principal molecule nuclear factor-kappaB (or NF-kB), curcumin blunts cancer-causing inflammation, slashing levels of inflammatory cytokines throughout the body. Curcumin also interferes with production of dangerous advanced glycation end products that trigger inflammation which can lead to cancerous mutation.

Curcumin alters cellular signalling pathways to enhance healthy control over cellular replication, helping to stop uncontrolled proliferation of fresh tumour tissue. It promotes apoptosis (programmed cell death) in rapidly reproducing cancer cells without affecting healthy tissue and restrains tumour growth. In addition, curcumin regulates tumour suppressor pathways and triggers death in tumour tissue, thereby increasing the death of cancer cells.

Curcumin has also been shown to interfere with tumour invasiveness, and also helps to starve tumours of their vital blood supply, and it can oppose many of the processes that permit metastases to spread. These multi-targeted actions are central to curcumin’s ability to block various forms of cancer before they manifest.

At a glance: Curcumin’s multi-targeted anti-cancer effects

  • Curcumin is a potent cancer-preventing agent, with 870 published papers and studies appearing in global scientific journals in 2012 alone.
  • Its multi-pronged effects act to counter ten distinct causative factors in cancer development.
  • It intervenes at each stage in the complex sequence of events that enable cancer cells to develop and metastasize.
  • Its multi-targeted mechanisms of action have yielded convincing outcomes in battling a remarkably broad range of cancers, including uterus, breast, prostate, and GI tract cancer.

References:

Life Extension, Report: How curcumin protects against cancer

Curcumin: The 21st century cure by Jan McBarron, M.D. N.D.

Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of curcuma longa: A review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53.

Goel A, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin, the golden spice from Indian saffron, is a chemosensitizer and radiosensitizer for tumours and chemoprotector and radioprotector for normal organs. Nutr Cancer. 2010 Oct; 62(7):919-30.

Biswas J, Sinha D, Mukherjee S, Roy S, Siddiqi M, Roy M. Curcumin protects DNA damage in a chronically arsenic-exposed population of West Bengal. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2010 Jun;29(6):513-24.

Bachmeier BE, Killian P, Pfeffer U, Nerlich AG. Novel aspects for the application of curcumin in chemoprevention of various cancers. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2010 Jan 1;2:697-717.

Sikora E, Bielak-Zmijewska A, Mosieniak G, Piwocka K. The promise of slow down ageing may come from curcumin. Curr Pharm Des. 2010;16(7):884-92.

Sajithlal GB, Chithra P, Chandrakasan G. Effect of curcumin on the advanced glycation and cross-linking of collagen in diabetic rats. Biochem Pharmacol. 1998 Dec 15;56(12):1607-14.