Numerous compounds are widely distributed in nature and many of these possess medicinal/biological/pharmacological activity. Curcumin, a polyphenol derived from the rhizomes (underground stems) of Curcuma longa Linn (a member of the ginger family, commonly known as turmeric) is a culinary spice and therapeutic used in India for thousands of years to induce color and flavor in food as well as to treat a wide array of diseases. The origin of turmeric as spice and folklore medicine is so old that it is lost in legend. Curcumin has many beneficial pharmacological effects which includes, but are not limited with, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antiangiogenic, and antidiabetic activities. Most importantly curcumin possesses immense antitumorigenic effect. It prevents tumor formation in a number of animal models, including models of lung, liver, stomach, colon, breast, esophageal cancer etc. A concise discussion regarding the effects of curcumin on five leading cancers with respect to cancer mortality (lung, liver, stomach, colorectal and breast) and associated molecular mechanisms is included. The potential applications of curcumin as chemopreventive agent, chemosensitizer, and radiosensitizer in both in vitro and in vivo studies have discussed in this chapter. In addition to natural drugs, a large number of synthetic drugs (mainly organic and organometallic) are being used as medicines against cancer. Synergistic role of two or more drugs against any particular disease plays an important role in modern drug discovery research. Subsequently, preclinical and clinical studies of drug synergy have become an intriguing part of translational research. This chapter describes the pertinent recent examples of synergistic role of curcumin with various other molecules with special emphasis to commercial drugs and natural products. Curcumin has also demonstrated the ability to improve patient outcomes in clinical trials.
Debasish Bandyopadhyay, Curcumin: A folklore remedy from the kitchen on the way to clinic as cancer drug In Horizons in Cancer Research, 2014, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Hauppauge, New York, USA, pp.1- 42 (ISSN: 2159-1326; ISBN: 978-1-63463-247-8).
Horizons in Cancer Research