Curcumin, a polyphenol, is the main constituent found in turmeric extracted from the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa. Turmeric is well known for its medicinal properties and has been used extensively for treatment of inflammation, infection, neurological diseases and bone ailments.

Curcumin, extracted from turmeric, has been extensively studied for its anti-cancer activities.

Curcumin has shown potent activity on cancers of breast, lung, colon, blood, stomach and liver. It acts on different signalling pathways that control cell proliferation, apoptosis, and inflammation.

Some of the targets that Curcumin acts on are transcription factors (STAT-1,3), Growth factors (EGF, VEGF), Inflammatory cytokines (TNF, IFN), Apoptotic proteins (Caspase 3), Protein Kinases (Akt, MAPK, EGFR), and Receptors (HER2).

Curcumin has shown promising activity in phase 1 clinical trials in patients with pancreatic, colorectal and blood cancers when used as monotherapy or in combination with other anti-cancer drugs.

The clinical utility of Curcumin to treat cancers has to be further evaluated in Phase 2 and pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials before it can be approved for treatment of different cancers.

Author:Ramesh Jayaraman-Chief Scientific Officer, OncoDynamiX Lifesciences.


  • Giordano A, Tommonaro G.2019.Curcumin and Cancer. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 5;11(10):2376. doi: 10.3390/nu11102376.