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Curcumin in Cancer Prevention

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Functional Food and Human Health

Abstract

Cancer has become one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Presently, available chemotherapeutic agents have several limitations including severe side effects. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is a polyphenol derived from the plant Curcuma longa. Curcumin has been used extensively as spice in many Asian countries and in Ayurvedic medicines. It is nontoxic and has shown to possess various medicinal properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. Recent investigations have shown that curcumin exerts anticancer properties in various cancer cell models and targets variety of biological pathways involved in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, mutagenesis, angiogenesis, and metastasis. NF-κB, p53, Nrf2, NFAT, MMPs, STATs, and uPA are important molecular targets of curcumin in multiple cancer models. Enzymes involved in redox balance inside the cells including superoxide dismutases, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase are modulated by curcumin. However, bioavailability, water insolubility, short life span, and rapid systemic clearance of curcumin have posed limitations in developing curcumin as an effective chemotherapeutic agent. To address these challenges, curcumin has been used in combinations with many other chemotherapeutic drugs which have shown encouraging results. This chapter deals with the current information available for the cancer chemopreventive activities of curcumin in various in vitro and in vivo cancer models including epidemiological studies and human trials. Also, molecular pathways involved in the manifestation of biological activities of curcumin against various processes of cancer development have been discussed.

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Sabarwal, A., Kumar, K., Shyanti, R., Singh, R.P. (2018). Curcumin in Cancer Prevention. In: Rani, V., Yadav, U. (eds) Functional Food and Human Health. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-1123-9_16

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