Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the Western world. More than 56,000 newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients die each year in the United States. Available therapies are either not effective or have unwanted side effects. Epidemiological data suggest that dietary manipulations play an important role in the prevention of many human cancers. Curcumin the yellow pigment in turmeric has been widely used for centuries in the Asian countries without any toxic effects. Epidemiological data also suggest that curcumin may be responsible for the lower rate of colorectal cancer in these countries. Curcumin is a naturally occurring powerful anti-inflammatory medicine. The anticancer properties of curcumin have been shown in cultured cells and animal studies. Curcumin inhibits lipooxygenase activity and is a specific inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2 expression. Curcumin inhibits the initiation of carcinogenesis by inhibiting the cytochrome P-450 enzyme activity and increasing the levels of glutathione-S-transferase. Curcumin inhibits the promotion / progression stages of carcinogenesis. The anti-tumor effect of curcumin has been attributed in part to the arrest of cancer cells in S, G2 / M cell cycle phase and induction of apoptosis. Curcumin inhibits the growth of DNA mismatch repair defective colon cancer cells. Therefore, curcumin may have value as a safe chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of tumors exhibiting DNA mismatch repair deficient and microsatellite instable phenotype. Curcumin should be considered as a safe, non-toxic and easy to use chemotherapeutic agent for colorectal cancers arise in the setting of chromosomal instability as well as microsatellite instability.
Keywords: curcumin, colorectal cancer, epidemiological data, anti-inflammatory medicine, dna mismatch repair system
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