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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:149-72.

Cancer chemopreventive effects of curcumin.

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National Research Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, South Korea.


Chemoprevention, which is referred to as the use of nontoxic natural or synthetic chemicals to intervene in multistage carcinogenesis, has emerged as a promising and pragmatic medical approach to reduce the risk of cancer. Numerous components of edible plants, collectively termed "phytochemicals" have been reported to possess substantial chemopreventive properties. Curcumin, a yellow coloring ingredient derived from Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae), is one of the most extensively investigated and well-defined chemopreventive phytochemicals. Curcumin has been shown to protect against skin, oral, intestinal, and colon carcinogenesis and also to suppress angiogenesis and metastasis in a variety animal tumor models. It also inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells by arresting them in the various phases of the cell cycle and by inducing apoptosis. Moreover, curcumin has a capability to inhibit carcinogen bioactivation via suppression of specific cytochrome P450 isozymes, as well as to induce the activity or expression of phase II carcinogen detoxifying enzymes. Well-designed intervention studies are necessary to assess the chemopreventive efficacy of curcumin in normal individuals as well as high-risk groups. Sufficient data from pharmacodynamic as well as mechanistic studies are necessary to advocate clinical evaluation of curcumin for its chemopreventive potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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