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Drugs Today (Barc). 2010 Jul;46(7):523-32. doi: 10.1358/dot.2010.46.7.1509560.

Curcumin therapeutic promises and bioavailability in colorectal cancer.

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  • 1School of Life Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.


Curcumin, a polyphenol and derivative of turmeric is one of the most commonly used and highly researched phytochemicals. Several research studies have provided interesting insights into the multiple mechanisms by which curcumin may mediate chemotherapy and chemopreventive effects on cancers, including colorectal cancer. Curcumin has the ability to inhibit carcinogenic promotion of colorectal cancer through the modulation of multiple molecular targets such as transcription factors, enzymes, cell cycle proteins, cell surface adhesion proteins, survival pathways and cytokines. A number of clinical trials dealing with curcumin's efficacy and safety revealed poor absorption and low bioavailability. Different factors contributing to the low bioavailability include low plasma level, tissue distribution, rapid metabolism and elimination from the body. Although, curcumin poor absorption and low systemic bioavailability limit its translation into clinics, some of the methods for its use can be approached to enhance the absorption and achieve a therapeutic level of curcumin. Recent clinical trials suggest a potential role for curcumin in regards to colorectal cancer therapy.

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