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World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jul 28;20(28):9384-91. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i28.9384.

Therapeutic applications of curcumin for patients with pancreatic cancer.

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Masashi Kanai, Department of Clinical Oncology and Pharmacogenomics, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University Kyoto, Japan Kyoto University Hospital, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


A number of preclinical studies have demonstrated anticancer effects for curcumin in various types of tumors, including pancreatic cancer. Curcumin has anticancer effects both alone and in combination with other anticancer drugs (e.g., gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin), and it has been shown to modulate a variety of molecular targets in preclinical models, with more than 30 molecular targets identified to date. Of these various molecules, NF-κB is thought to be one of the primary targets of curcumin activity. Based on these promising preclinical results, several research groups, including our own, have progressed to testing the anticancer effects of curcumin in clinical trials; however, the poor bioavailability of this agent has been the major challenge for its clinical application. Despite the ingestion of gram-level doses of curcumin, plasma curcumin levels remain at low (ng/mL) levels in patients, which is insufficient to yield the anticancer benefits of curcumin. This problem has been solved by the development of highly bioavailable forms of curcumin (THERACURMIN), and higher plasma curcumin levels can now be achieved without increased toxicity in patients with pancreatic cancer. In this article, we review possible therapeutic applications of curcumin in patients with pancreatic cancer.


Bioavailability; Curcumin; Nuclear factor-kappa B; Pancreatic cancer; THERACURMIN

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