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Cancer Lett. 2001 Jun 10;167(1):33-8.

Curcumin, a natural product present in turmeric, decreases tumor growth but does not behave as an anticachectic compound in a rat model.

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Cancer Research Group, Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Diagonal 645, 08071-, Barcelona, Spain.


Systemic administration of curcumin [1,7-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenil)1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione] (20 microg/kg body weight) for 6 consecutive days to rats bearing the highly cachectic Yoshida AH-130 ascites hepatoma resulted in an important inhibition of tumor growth (31% of total cell number). Interestingly, curcumin was also able to reduce (24%) in vitro tumor cell content at concentrations as low as 0.5 microM without promoting any apoptotic events. Although systemic administration of curcumin has previously been shown to facilitate muscle regeneration, administration of the compound to tumor-bearing rats did not result in any changes in muscle wasting, when compared with the non-treated tumor-bearing animals. Indeed, both the weight and protein content of the gastrocnemius muscle significantly decreased as a result of tumor growth and curcumin was unable to reverse this tendency. It is concluded that curcumin, in spite of having clear antitumoral effects, has little potential as an anticachectic drug in the tumor model used in the present study.

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