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D.iet & H.ealth : C.ancer Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00

Curcumin fights colorectal cancer
By Ben Wasserman
Sep 24, 2006, 21:56

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24 Sept. ( - Curcumin may be used as a drug to curb the growth and spread of colorectal cancer because it reduces the activity of a fat-induced gastrointestinal hormone that promotes the growth and spread of colorectal cancer cells, researchers said.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) found the anticancer property of curcumin, after examining the link between a gastrointestinal hormone known as neurotensin and the production of an inflammatory protein that boosts the growth of a variety of cancer cells.

According to the study published in the current issue of Clinical Cancer Research, curcumin inhibits neurotensin-mediated production of interleukin-8 and migration of HCT116 human colon cancer cells, suggesting that curcumin may help stop growth of colorectal cancer cells, and prevent colorectal cancer from spreading to other locations in the body.

IL-8 is a potent inflammatory protein that accelerates the growth and spread of a variety of human cancer cells, including colorectal and pancreatic tumor cells. The researchers explained that curcumin reduces IL-8 production by damping down the signals neurotensin needs to have an effect on IL-8 production.

"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," said UTMB surgery professor B. Mark Evers, senior author of the article and director of UTMB's Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology.

Curcumin is the yellow pigment found in turmeric, a major spice for curry, which is widely used in Indian cooking and traditional medicine. Low incidence of cancer in India promotes many researchers to believe curry may have certain anticancer function(s). Early lab studies have actually found that curcumin fights skin, breast and other tumor cells.

Curcumin inhibits the spread of breast cancer to the lungs in mice, according to a study published in the Oct. 15 2005 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The study authors reported that curcumin can not only prevent progression of breast cancer cells, but reverse the adverse effects from Taxol, a breast cancer drug that can trigger spread of breast cancer. Read Turmeric may help stop the spread of breast cancer

In another study published in the August 15, 2005 issue of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Razelle Kurzrock at University of Texas and colleagues treated three melanoma cell lines with curcumin and found that treatment of curcumin induces the death of cancer cells in a dose-responsive manner. Read Curcumin in curry fights against melanoma.

In the United States, colorectal cancer was diagnosed in 70,651 men and 68,883 women in 2002 and 28,471 men and 28,132 women died from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common risk factors include lack of regular physical activity, low fruit and vegetable intake, use of low-fiber and high-fat diet, overweight and obesity, alcohol consumption and tobacco use.


Xiaofu Wang et al. "Curcumin inhibits neurotensin-mediated interleukin-8 production and migration of HCT116 human colon cancer cells." Clinical Cancer Research. Sep 15, 2006; 12 (18).

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