Curcumin Curbs Metastases
By on October 12th, 2012

A team of researchers at LMU Munich, Germany have been studying the effect that curcumin, a derivative of the spice turmeric, has on the formation of metastases. Metastasis is a term used to describe the spread of diseases like cancer to other organs throughout the body. The study is published in Carcinogenesis.

Turmeric powder is extensively used in Indian cooking. Photo by Sanjay Acharya via Wikimedia Commons

Curcumin, the Wonder Spice

Turmeric is a spice that has been used for many centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a staple of many Indian dishes and curries. Curcumin is the main compound in turmeric that gives it most of its proven medicinal abilities.  Dr. Beatrice Bachmeier led the research at LMU Munich. In previous studies, her research showed that curcumin had a statistically significant impact on the formation of lung metastases in an animal model of advanced breast cancer. This study focused on another prevalent cancer in the western world — prostate cancer.

Breast and prostate cancers are both known to be associated with inflammatory responses. Their tumor cells were found to produce proteins called cytokines, specifically CXCL1 und CXCL2, which are known to contribute to inflammation. Bachmeier’s research showed that curcumin decreased the expression of these proteins, thus reducing metastases.  “Due to the action of curcumin, the tumor cells synthesize smaller amounts of cytokines that promote metastasis,” says Bachmeier. “As a consequence, the frequency of metastasis formation in the lungs is significantly reduced, in animals with breast cancer, as we showed previously, or carcinoma of the prostate, as demonstrated in our new study.”

An Ounce of Prevention

Studies like this are showing that curcumin is proving to be very helpful in prevention. While the researchers caution against using curcumin in place of conventional treatments like chemotherapy, it does seem to have a significant role in reducing inflammation in the body. More research will be done with curcumin, specifically with human trials.

For more information, visit LMU Munich’s website at

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Author: Darrin Jenkins Google Profile for Darrin Jenkins
Darrin is an IT manager for a large electrical contractor in Louisville KY. He is married and has 3 kids. He loves helping people with their technology needs. He runs a blog called Say Geek!

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