- Fecal Incontinence
Curcumin lowers chemoresistance in colorectal cancer model
Last Updated: 2015-03-27
By David Douglas
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - High-absorption curcumin can restore susceptibility to 5-flurouracil (5-FU) in a mouse model of chemoresistant colorectal cancer, according to U.S. and German researchers.
"Cell studies have shown that curcumin boosts the effectiveness of chemotherapy, but in this study, we demonstrated this ability using a mouse model, which adds further evidence to curcumin's effectiveness," said Dr. Ajay Goel of Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
"We were also for the first time able to identify a unique mechanism of action, which is via curcumin's influence on micro-RNA or miRNA," he told Reuters Health by email. "MiRNAs are small molecules in the body that greatly influence patterns of gene expression. By targeting miRNAs, systems of many genes are controlled or modulated, which can play a crucial role in killing cancer cells, and preventing its recurrence and spread."
In a paper online February 4 in Carcinogenesis, Dr. Goel and colleagues say they found that combined treatment with curcumin and 5-FU enhanced cellular apoptosis and inhibited proliferation in both parental and 5-FU-resistant cells.
The miRNAs that were affected by curcumin treatment, Dr. Goel added, control epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by which cancer cells metastasize.
"The BCM-95 Curcumin used in the study influenced the expression of miRNA to prevent EMT, which may have a profound impact in our fight against cancer," he said. "In the past, we have tried to treat cancer by focusing on single genes, but it is never as simple as that because cancer is a chronic illness that is not controlled by one, but several genes. This is fascinating, because by influencing specific miRNAs, one can influence a wide array of genes that impact cancer instead of just one."
Dr. Amirhossein Sahebkar, who has studied curcumin's therapeutic effects, said the new work is "further evidence for the use of curcumin as a safe and efficacious supplement for the management of cancer."
"Chemotherapy resistance is a really important problem for successful management of patients diagnosed with cancer," Dr. Sahedkar, of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran, told Reuters Health by email.
The study had no commercial funding.