Cancer is the most dreadful disease worldwide in terms of morbidity and mortality. The exact cause of cancer development and progression is not fully known. But it is thought that cancer occurs due to the structural and functional changes in the genes. The current approach to cancer treatment based on allopathic is expensive, exhibits side effects; and may also alter the normal functioning of genes. Thus, a safe and effective mode of treatment is needed to control the cancer development and progression. Some medicinal plants provide a safe, effective and affordable remedy to control the progression of malignant cells. The importance of medicinal plants and their constituents has been documented in Ayurveda, Unani medicine, and various religious books. Curcumin, a vital constituent of the spice turmeric, is an alternative approach in the prevention of cancer. Earlier studies have shown the effect of Curcumin as an antioxidant, antibacterial, antitumor and it also has a noteworthy role in the control of different diseases.It is proved clinically that chemopreventive effects of curcumin in the prevention of cancer via the regulation of various cell signaling and genetic pathways.
Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound derived from the popular Indian spice turmeric plant. Curcumin is lipophilic in nature which shows low solubility in aqueous solution. It is extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Chinese medicine for the management of various diseases such as wound, inflammation, and cancer.
Tumorigenesis and tumor progression are thought to be as a result of some changes in the different types of genetic pathways. Curcumin, chief constituents of turmeric, shows a vital role in cancer prevention and treatment through modulation of various biological activities including molecular cascades.
Curcumin is modulator of Molecular Pathways. It shows effect on the following:
Tumor Suppressor Genes
Phase I and Phase II Genes/Enzymes
PI3 K/Akt Pathways
Androgen Degradation/Down Regulation
NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells)
Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3)
It prevents metastasis (spread of cancer throughout the body)
It halts progression of pre-cancerous lesions
It has anti-carcinogenic action
It has anti-tumor property
It inhibits angiogenesis in tumors [Angiogenesis is formation of new blood vessels]
It arrests cell cycle and development in cancer
It selectively kills cancer cells and protects normal cells
It destroys cancer stem cells
It increases chemo and radio sensitivity
It can regulate immune responses to combat cancer
It curbs inflammation
It improves antioxidant defences
Cancer is a deadly disease for both men and women and also a major health problem worldwide. The present mode of treatment based on chemotherapy and radiotherapy is very expensive and also exhibits serious side effects in human beings. Curcumin is clinically proved in the prevention of various types of cancer through the activation or inactivation of various genetic pathways. These reported features combined with the absence of side effects and being inexpensive as well as easy to access, curcumin proved very effective therapeutics in the management of cancers.