Editors: Dr. Chris Barry, Amanita Setari
Motivation behind the research
Some food derivatives have exhibited unique anti-tumor properties. Curcumin, a natural compound of Curcuma longa (turmeric), is commonly used as a vegetable, food ingredient and traditional herb in Asia. This compound has been proven to possess several beneficial biological activities, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-tumor effects. Our previous studies have suggested that curcumin exerts anti-tumor effects on abnormal stomach cells, decreasing the recurrence of atypical hyperplasia and improving the quality of life of patients. Compared with chemotherapeutic agents, curcumin is less toxic and more compatible with biological tissues; therefore, it deserves further study on its effects against stomach cancer.
In the present study, we investigated the ways in which curcumin fights stomach cancer and examined whether curcumin could interfere with cell survival signals, trigger cell death signals, and activate the immune system to help fight stomach cancer in mice. The results indicate that curcumin inhibits the proliferation of gastric carcinoma by inducing the apoptosis (self-destruction) of tumor cells, activating immune cells to secrete a lot of cytokines (substances that have an effect on other cells), and down-regulating cell survival cues in cancer cells. The findings indicate that curcumin exerts multiple anti-tumor effects against gastric cancer growth, thus laying the foundation for future clinical trials.
It has been reported in other studies that curcumin not only inhibits the proliferation of stomach cancer but other cancers as well. The anti-tumor properties underlying curcumin still need further investigation. Moreover, these studies were conducted in mice, and their relevance to fighting cancers in human patients remains to be determined.
Research Article: Anti-tumor bioactivities of curcumin on mice loaded with gastric carcinoma, Food & Function, 2017.