Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 336, Issue 1–2, pp 85–95 | Cite as

Multifocal signal modulation therapy of cancer: ancient weapon, modern targets

  • Tanya DasEmail author
  • Gaurisankar Sa
  • Baisakhi Saha
  • Kaushik Das


Although safe in most cases, ancient treatments are ignored because neither their active components nor their molecular targets are well defined. This is not the case, however, with curcumin, a yellow-pigment substance and component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), which was identified more than a century ago. Recently, extensive research has addressed the chemotherapeutic potential of this relatively nontoxic-plant-derived polyphenol. Because most cancers are caused by deregulation of as many as 500 different genes, agents that target multiple gene products are needed for prevention and treatment of cancer. In this regard, curcumin has been reported to have immense potentiality for being used in cancer chemotherapy because of its control over the machineries of cell survival, proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis. The mechanisms implicated are diverse and appear to involve a combination of cell signaling pathways at multiple levels. This review seeks to summarize the unique multifocal signal modulatory properties of the “ancient weapon,” curcumin, which may be exploited for successful clinical cancer prevention.


Apoptosis Angiogenesis Cancer Cell signaling Curcumin Metastasis Survival 



Protein kinase B


Cyclin-dependent kinase


Epidermal growth factor receptor


Inhibitor of κB


Inhibitor of κB kinase


Inducible nitric oxide synthase


Janus kinase


c-Jun N-terminal kinase


Mitogen-activated protein kinase


Nuclear factor κB




Proliferating cell nuclear antigen


Protein kinase C


Peroxisomal proliferators-activated receptor


Retinoblastoma protein


Signal transducer and activator of transcription



This study was performed in the authors’ laboratories, and was supported by research grants from CSIR, DST, ICMR, and DBT, Government of India.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya Das
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gaurisankar Sa
    • 1
  • Baisakhi Saha
    • 1
  • Kaushik Das
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Molecular MedicineBose InstituteKolkataIndia

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