Department of Radiation Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric (curry spice), is believed to be associated with reducing the incidence of breast cancers in Asian countries. Anti-cancer efficacy of curcumin and analogs has been tested in pre-clinical studies in some cancer models including breast cancer. These studies reported promising results in inhibiting human cancer cell proliferation and tumorigenesis in animal models. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that curcumin and its analogs target critical genes associated with angiogenesis, apoptosis, cell cycle, and metastasis. The inhibition of human breast cancer cell growth by curcumin is mediated via certain signaling cascades including the modulation of the NF-κB signaling pathway. Epidemiological and experimental data also demonstrated the efficacy of curcumin in chemoprevention and reversing chemo-resistance of tumors of certain cancers. This review summarizes the studies revealing the preventive and therapeutic effects of curcumin and its analogs with an emphasis on multi-targeted biological and molecular effects in a breast cancer model.
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