Curcumin- The golden nutraceutical
Curcumin, also known as Curcuma longa, is a phenolic chemical obtained from the turmeric plant, which belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. This natural herb, which is yellow in colour is commonly used as a spice and food colouring ingredient. Curcumin has many biological properties, including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer, and antidiabetic properties. Curcumin is so regarded as a prospective medicine for the treatment of human ailments such as infections, neurological diseases, and diabetes and decreasing cancer cell proliferation and metastasis while increasing cell cycle arrest or death in certain cancer cells. Curcumin has been found in animal experiments to play an essential role in preventing initial carcinogenesis in a variety of organs used as metastatic sites, including the mammary glands and the gastrointestinal tract.
What is Metastasis?
Metastasis is a process in which cancer cells break out from the original or primary tumour and will move through the blood or lymph system and later will establish a new tumour in other organs or tissues of the human body. Apoptosis is currently poorly understood, despite its importance in the induction of failures in cancer management and a growing rate of mortality. Invasion and metastatic activation are indicators of a tumour, according to a 2011 study by Hanahan and Weinberg. As a result, metastasis, which is a major feature of tumour malignancies, gains potency through the display of invasiveness traits in surrounding tissue and landing on distant parts of the body. Exosomes and tumour-secreted factors are two factors that can influence metastatic progression. Steeg’s 2006 study reveals that metastasis is the leading cause of mortality in more than 90% of cancer patients. Understanding the interconnections between metastatic processes allows us to identify molecular and cellular targets for developing effective medicines for reducing or slowing metastasis and cancer progression.
Curcumin has antimetastatic properties, according to Shafabakhsh’s 2019 research, regulating T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, NK cells, dendritic cells, and cytokine and chemokine production. In addition to this study, curcumin has been also proved to possess immunosuppressive properties.
Curcumin has been shown to inhibit metastasis in gastrointestinal cancers by modulating multiple signalling pathways, according to a thorough study. Curcumin prevents metastasis through a variety of methods, including inhibiting transcription factors and their signalling pathways, various proteases, inflammatory cytokines, miRNA modification, several protein kinases, and heat shock proteins. Curcumin medication causes a large increase in metastatic tumour cross-sectional volume (70%) and zone size, according to studies (46%). Curcumin may boost LLC’s metastatic growth in mice by increasing VEGF and angiogenic factor levels.
Some of the antimetastatic effects of curcumin according to clinical studies in oral cancer are :
- Reduced multiple proteases and modulated the p53-E-cadherin pathway, which inhibited invasiveness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
- Epidermal growth factor receptor signalling pathways inhibited cell growth and invasion.
- Oral cancer cell lines showed antiproliferative and antimetastatic effects.
- Downregulation of Snail expression reduced tumour differentiation and metastasis.
- Reduced the activity of numerous proteases, which inhibited invasion and migration.
Some of the antimetastatic effects of curcumin according to clinical studies in gastrointestinal cancers are:
- Anti-lymphangiogenesis effects
- Anti-lymphangiogenesis effects
- Reduced cell viability and apoptosis through caspase-3 activation
- Inhibited metastasis by lowering circulating tumour cells
- Prevent tumour recurrence and metastasis
- Suppressed proliferation, migration, and invasion
- Reduced cancer cell invasiveness and caused apoptosis – Suppressed lymphatic vessel density
Given reports on the adverse effects of curcumin in cancer therapy, the safety and appropriate therapeutic dose should be established in addition to the potential pharmacological effects of curcumin. Future clinical and preclinical studies on curcumin’s anti-metastasis characteristics should be designed to demonstrate curcumin’s safety and effectiveness in preventing cancer metastasis.