Curcuma as an adjuvant in colorectal cancer treatment

PMID: 34637800
Journal: Life sciences (volume: 286, issue: , Life Sci 2021 Dec;286:120043)
Published: 2021-10-09

Villegas C, Perez R, Sterner O, González-Chavarría I, Paz C


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide and mostly affects men. Around 20% of its incidence is by familiar disposition due to hereditary syndromes. The CRC treatment involves surgery and chemotherapy; however, the side effects of treatments and the fast emergence of drug resistance evidence the necessity to find more effective drugs. Curcumin is the main polyphenol pigment present in Curcuma longa, a plant widely used as healthy food with antioxidant properties. Curcumin has synergistic effects with antineoplastics such as 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin, as well anti-inflammatory drugs by inhibiting cyclooxygenase-2 and the Nuclear factor kappa B. Furthermore, curcumin shows anticancer properties by inhibition of the Wnt/β-catenin, Hedgehog, Notch, and the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathways implicated in the progression of CRC. However, the consumption of pure curcumin is less suitable, as the absorption is poor, and the metabolism and excretion are high. Pharmacological formulations and essential oils of the plant improve the curcumin absorption, resulting in therapeutical dosages. Despite the evidence obtained in vitro and in vivo, clinical studies have not yet confirmed the therapeutic potential of curcumin against CRC. Here we reviewed the last scientific information that supports the consumption of curcumin as an adjuvant for CRC therapy.