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More on Cucurmin

11th March 2007 by Arrow Durfee Posted in Uncategorized

Curcumin intervention trial against precursor lesions of colon cancer in smokers
Category: Botanical/Herbal Medicines • Cancer
Posted on: March 8, 2007 10:01 AM, by Abel Pharmboy

We’ve spoken here before about the premature extrapolation of in vitro data on curcumin to the misleading human use of the spice-derivative for a whole host of cancers. Unfortunately, curcumin is not absorbed into the bloodstream at concentrations necessary for anticancer effects, even when combined with a black pepper-derived compound called piperine (sold under the brand name, Bioperine). In fact, piperine/Bioperene may present a risk of drug interactions and potentially increase the side effects of some types of chemotherapy if taken unwittingly along with certain drugs.

However, a cancer prevention specialist at the University of California at Irvine is investigating curcumin systematically in a precancerous setting where it has some potential of having benefit. As the featured clinical trial in yesterday’s NCI Cancer Bulletin, “Phase II Chemoprevention Study of Curcumin in Current Smokers with Aberrant Crypt Foci” (UCIRVINE-UCI04-2-01), proposes to investigate whether 30 days of curcumin administration reduces the incidence of precursor lesions to colon cancer. (See the protocol summary at

This trial is clever in that it takes advantage of the fact that curcumin is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, it is not aimed at treating colon cancer that has already occurred but rather cellular lesions that are beliefed to precede the development of colon cancer.

From the interview with UC-Irvine’s Dr Frank Meyskens:

Microscopic lesions in the lining of the colon called aberrant crypt foci (ACF) are thought to be precursors of colon polyps and, ultimately, malignant tumors. ACF lesions typically display biomarkers that may indicate precancerous development. In this trial, researchers are exploring the ability of a substance called curcumin to affect these biomarkers and possibly stop the progression to cancer…

Doctors are interested in determining whether curcumin supplements taken for 30 days can help reduce the levels of precancerous biomarkers in the ACF of smokers who have eight or more lesions. Smoking is a known risk factor for colon cancer, and studies suggest that as many as 80 percent of smokers have ACF lesions.

“Though it has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, we’re very early in the clinical development of curcumin as a chemopreventive agent,” Dr. Meyskens said. “This trial is a proof-of-principle study to see if curcumin really can affect the relevant biomarkers in humans. If it does, we can then design a larger cancer prevention trial based on demonstrated biological response rather than on results from epidemiological studies.”

Note that what this trial is not doing is testing curcumin against already advanced colon cancer. This will be an interesting trial to follow, again, especially since it seems to take advantage of the fact that curcumin is poorly absorbed from the intestinal tract.

Other investigators and enrollment sites are; Dr. Richard Banya, University of Illinois at Chicago; Dr. D. Kim Turgeon, University of Michigan.

My earlier posts on curcumin:
Curcumin for cancer: part one
Curcumin for cancer: part two

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One Response to “More on Cucurmin”

  1. Arrow Durfee Says:

    Here is some banter from another forum on cucurmin. The first paragraphs are written by me.

    One thought I have had about cucurmin. It changes the color of the stool when you take several caps a day. I wonder if some of its healing effects is not directly from the bloodstream but is held within its ability to stay in the stool and have direct physical contact with the lining of the intestines and colon. I also wonder if it modifies in some way the components of stool making it less inflammatory to the lining of the colon. Just some thoughts…

    I was also thinking about the study they do on cucurmin regarding how long it remains in the bloodstream, indicating that some products that test out to last longer in the bloodstream might be more effective…

    Perhaps it does not need to be in the bloodstream long. Perhaps its action, once in the bloodstream and in contact with the cell matrix only needs to be a short time. Perhaps it delivers what it needs in a short time and does not need continual contact with the cell to have an effect. This continual paradigm within conventional medicine of need for constant emersement in a strong dose of medicine could be wrong. God knows its wrong with homeopathy. I’ve also found it wrong for a number of herbs that effect a change with small dosage in short time spans.

    Perhaps it does not need to be in the bloodstream at all. Perhaps it only needs to get into the lymphatic system. The intestinal tract is loaded with contact with the lymphatic system. This would just be a reflection of the long long neglect and misunderstanding by the scientific medical community at large of the lymphatic system and its role in immunity and detoxification of the body.
    Perhaps the more of it that goes into the bloodstream and the longer it stays there the less effective it is?

    Good thought, and remember, Dr Steve Martin at Grouppe Kurosawa recommends dissolving the curcumin in coconut oil so that it will be transported via lauric acid in the lymphatic system, not the blood system. I use the coconut oil method and I can vouch for it’s dramatic lessening of joint and muscle pain.
    interesting connection. curcumin (along with other spices that are thought to be protective)/curry are a main, if not, daily spice in the Indian diet:

    colon cancer in India (males), age adjusted rate: ……. incidence: 4.7 / mortality: 3.4

    colon cancer in United States (males), age adjusted rate: incidence: 44.6 / mortality: 15.2

    colon cancer in India (females), age adjusted rate: ……… incidence: 3.2 / mortality: 2.2

    colon cancer in United States (females), age adjusted rate: incidence: 33.1 / mortality: 11.6

    here is a link to the study you talked about:

    The most likely reason for the lower colon cancer rates in India is the fact that there is virtually no meat eating among the population, whereas the USA is the 2nd highest consumer of meat in the world.

    High meat consumption has been implicated in a 50% increased colon cancer risk in a 148,000 people study.