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Nutr Cancer. 2012;64(7):975-81. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2012.713161. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Antibacterial and antiinflammatory kinetics of curcumin as a potential antimucositis agent in cancer patients.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. sonja.lueer@insel.ch


The antiinflammatory agent curcumin (diferuloylmethane) has a potential to mitigate cancer therapy-induced mucositis. We assessed the in vitro extent of its bactericidal activity and determined the kinetics of its antiinflammatory effect on pharyngeal cells. Bactericidal activity was assessed using the LIVE/DEAD® Kit after 4 h of exposure to curcumin (50-200 μM) in 18 oropharyngeal species commonly associated with bacteremia in febrile neutropenia. Moraxella catarrhalis or its outer membrane vesicles were used to determine the inhibitory effect of curcumin on bacteria-induced proinflammatory activity as determined by cytokine release into the supernatant of Detroit 562 pharyngeal cells using the Luminex® xMAP® technology. Curcumin exerted a concentration-dependent bactericidal effect on all 18 species tested. After 4 h at 200 μM, 12 species tested were completely killed. Preincubation of Detroit cells with 200 μM curcumin for 5 to 60 min resulted in complete suppression of the release of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor. Fibroblast growth factor-2 and interferon-γ were not affected. Repetitive exposure to curcumin resulted in repetitive suppression of cytokine/chemokine expression lasting from 4 to 6 h. Through reduction of oral microbial density as well as suppression of inflammation cascades curcumin may prevent cancer therapy-induced oral mucositis, e.g., when applied as multiple daily mouth washes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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