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Int Immunopharmacol. 2011 Sep;11(9):1234-40. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2011.04.002. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Low-dose curcumin leads to the inhibition of tumor growth via enhancing CTL-mediated antitumor immunity.

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Department of Immunology of Shanghai Medical College, Key Laboratory of Molecular Medicine of Ministry of Education, Fudan University, 138 Yi Xue Yuan Road, Shanghai 200032, People's Republic of China.


Curcumin, a yellow pigment extracted from turmeric, is widely used to inhibit tumor progression. Since it can either promote or suppress the immune system, how curcumin affects the immune system in tumor-bearing bodies is not yet clear. Our study found that tumor-bearing mice treated consecutively once a day with low-dose curcumin for ten days led to a retarded tumor growth and a longer survival, which might be contributed to T cell-mediated adaptive immune response. The in vitro study also showed that a high-dose curcumin decreases T cells whereas a low-dose increases T cells derived from 3LL tumor-bearing mice, especially CD8+ T cells. Accordingly, these increased CD8+ T cells exhibited the enhancement of IFN-γ secretion, proliferation and cytotoxicity specifically against 3LL tumor cells, which may result in the success of antitumor immunity. Our research demonstrated a beneficial effect of curcumin on CD8+ T cells derived from tumor-bearing mice, which can provide a potential application in anti-tumor therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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