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Curcumin: New Weapon against Cancer

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DOI: 10.4236/fns.2014.522239    3,681 Downloads   5,045 Views   Citations
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ABSTRACT

All the evidences point out to the fact that the incidence, mortality and number of persons living with cancer are on the rise and, thus, this will impose a significant burden on health care resources. The considerable number of deaths from cancer necessitates the need to developing novel alternative cures that are efficient, safe, cheap and easy to use. In the search for new therapies for tumors, naturally-derived compounds have been considered as a good source of novel anticancer drugs. The challenge here is to find products that are pharmacologically active against tumor cells with suitable toxicity profile and least damage to normal cells. Curcumin is a spice widely used in many countries especially in South Asia and it has gained importance for its anticancer function and low toxicity toward normal tissues in a range of biological systems. In spite of significant research works, many difficulties hinder its oral use in the therapy of different kind of tumors, such as extreme low solubility in water, quick break down and excretion after being absorbed in the human body. Low bioavailability due to enhanced metabolism and rapid system elimination is another problem that hinders oral use of curcumin as anticancer agent. Therefore, the previously mentioned poor pharmacokinetics characteristics inhibit curcumin from reaching its site of action and, thus, lessen its effectiveness against tumors. This article reviews the latest global cancer statistics with special attention to be directed toward ovarian cancer. It sheds light on many research works that investigated the protective and therapeutic functions of different curcumin preparations against different sites of cancer using animal models. It also summarizes recent research works concerning the antitumor effects of curcumin alone and/or loaded into a range of delivery devices in many types of ovarian cancer cell lines. In the last section, it discusses the latest research work with regard ovarian cancer in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Hamam, F. (2014) Curcumin: New Weapon against Cancer. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 5, 2257-2264. doi: 10.4236/fns.2014.522239.

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