turmeric

Turmeric is highly recommended for breast cancer

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice made from the dried rhizome (underground stem) of the plant Curcuma longa that is used extensively in Indian cooking. Biologically active components of turmeric include curcumin and various turmerones. Turmeric and its components have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, anti-thrombotic, anti-proliferative, anti-angiogenic, radioprotective, neuroprotective and cardioprotective effects.

Curcumin has been shown to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis of chronic and acute myeloid leukemia, Burkitt’s lymphoma, melanoma, osteosarcoma, head and neck squamous cell, esophageal, brain, thyroid, lung, synovial, pancreatic, liver, intestinal, colorectal, endometrial, cervical, bladder, ovarian, and prostate cancer cells.

Breast cancer-related effects of consuming turmeric

Curcumin has been shown in the laboratory to have profound and diverse effects on breast cancer carcinogenesis, proliferation and metastasis. Furthermore, these anticancer actions have been observed against several types of breast cancer, including estrogen receptor positive and progesterone receptor positive (ER+/PR+), ER negative and PR negative (ER-/PR-), and HER2/neu overexpressing cell lines. Some degree of selectivity for cancer cells also has been observed.

Adding curcumin to chemotherapy regimes that include Taxol (paclitaxel), Adriamycin (doxorubicin), or 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) has been shown to enhance their cytotoxicity. Curcumin might also protect the brain from chemotherapy, thereby possibly reducing chemo brain. On the other hand, supplementation with curcumin has been shown to interfere with the effectiveness of tamoxifen treatment.

Curcumin has been shown to be an iron chelator, which may be helpful in reducing iron for some women (since high stores of iron can contribute to breast cancer risk), but could negatively impact women with marginal stores of iron, especially those undergoing chemotherapy.

Curcumin has been found in mouse models to effectively protect skin from radiation damage, while at the same time sensitizing breast cancer cells to radiation and making them more susceptible to its effects. Therefore, it appears that adding turmeric to the diet during radiation treatment does not lessen the radiation's effectiveness and could be beneficial. Also, there is some evidence that turmeric could help protect normal breast cells from radiation-induced cancer (e.g., when radiation is used to treat other cancers).

Curcumin has been shown to inhibit progestin-accelerated mammary tumors in rats. Combined hormone therapy containing both estrogen and progestin has been found to result in increased risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Treatment with curcumin was found to postpone the first appearance of progestin-accelerated tumors, decrease overall tumor incidence, and reduce proliferation. These results suggest that curcumin might be an effective a dietary chemopreventive agent in women already exposed to combined hormone therapy.

Although turmeric contains up to 5% curcumin, the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric is limited, apparently because of poor absorption and rapid elimination from the body. Therefore, the levels of curcumin used in laboratory experiments to assess its chemoprotective effects typically are many times higher than that which would result from consuming turmeric in the diet. However, we recommend consuming turmeric as food rather than taking curcumin supplements, whose safety and effective dosages for breast cancer patients and survivors have not been established.

While the in vitro and in vivo evidence of curcumin's anti-cancer activities is remarkable, there have been no population studies that specifically address the association between turmeric consumption and the risk of breast cancer (or other cancers). India, where turmeric is a dietary staple, has lower overall cancer rates and breast cancer rates than countries in the West (although the rates are rising, particularly in urban areas). One 2005 study found that south Asian women (having origins mainly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) living in California were 3.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than native Asian Indian females. However, these results likely are the result of a variety of non-dietary as well as various dietary factors.

Additional comments

Curcumin has been shown to have a cytotoxic impact on microbes such as the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. One study also showed that long-term use of low-dose curcumin supplementation suppressed immunity against some other microbes (i.e., pathogens whose elimination primarily involves reactive radicals generated from inflammation).

Consuming black pepper along with turmeric may enhance the spice's anti-breast cancer action by enhancing breast cancer stem cell sensitivity to curcumin.

Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list, including less recent studies, please click on turmeric.

Tags: Adriamycin, angiogenesis, anthracycline, blackPepper, curcumin, doxorubicin, endometrialCancer, fluorouracil (5-FU), inflammation, insulinLikeGrowthFactor, iron, ovarianCancer, paclitaxel, progestin, proliferation, radiationTreatment, radioprotective, tamoxifen, Taxol, turmeric

Selected breast cancer studies

Curcumin and its Analogues (PGV-0 and PGV-1) Enhance Sensitivity of Resistant MCF-7 Cells to Doxorubicin through Inhibition of HER2 and NF-kB Activation Curcumin Implants, not Curcumin Diet Inhibits Estrogen-Induced Mammary Carcinogenesis in ACI rats Comparative In Vivo Evaluations of Curcumin and Its Analog Difluorinated Curcumin Against Cisplatin-Induced Nephrotoxicity Curcumin targets breast cancer stem-like cells with microtentacles that persist in mammospheres and promote attachment Potentiation of paclitaxel activity by curcumin in human breast cancer cell by modulating apoptosis and inhibiting EGFR signaling Curcumin Potentiates Antitumor effect of Gemcitabine in Human Breast Cancer in vitro Simultaneous determination of three curcuminoids in Curcuma longa L. by high performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrochemical detection Characterization of synergistic anti-cancer effects of docosahexaenoic acid and curcumin on DMBA-induced mammary tumorigenesis in mice Induction of human breast cell carcinogenesis by triclocarban and intervention by curcumin Curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric Tumor necrosis factor alpha induced warburg-like metabolism and is reversed by anti-inflammatory curcumin in breast epithelial cells Metabolomics Reveals Metabolic Targets and Biphasic Responses in Breast Cancer Cells Treated by Curcumin Alone and in Association with Docetaxel Apigenin shows synergistic anticancer activity with curcumin by binding at different sites of tubulin Mechanistic evaluation of the signaling events regulating curcumin-mediated chemosensitization of breast cancer cells to 5-fluorouracil Curcumin Induces Cell Death and Restores Tamoxifen Sensitivity in the Antiestrogen-Resistant Breast Cancer Cell Lines MCF-7/LCC2 and MCF-7/LCC9 BPA-induced inactivation of the p53 axis underlying deregulation of proliferation kinetics, and cell death in non-malignant human breast epithelial cells Reactivation of RASSF1A in Breast Cancer Cells by Curcumin Curcumin induces apoptosis of triple-negative breast cancer cells by inhibition of EGFR expression A plausible explanation for enhanced bioavailability of P-gp substrates in presence of piperine: simulation for next generation of P-gp inhibitors



Breast cancer resources | Definitions | Selected supplements and vitamins | Privacy policy | Search | Disclaimer/about us | Free newsletter/Donate | Sitemap