Curry Spice May Fight Skin Cancer
Ingredient in Curry May Kill Melanoma Cells
WebMD News Archive
July 11, 2005 -- The essential
A new study shows that curcumin, the yellow pigment found in the spice
turmeric, kills and stops the growth of melanoma skin cancer cells in
laboratory tests. Melanoma is the deadliest and can be the most
difficult-to-treat form of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer
Society, melanoma accounts for about 4% of skin cancer cases, but it causes
about 79% of skin cancer deaths.
It's not the first time that curcumin has been hailed as a potential disease
that may be
useful in combating a variety of diseases.
But researchers say this is the first study to demonstrate that curcumin
works in both high concentrations for short periods of time and at low
concentrations for long periods of time to trigger cancer cell death.
From Curry Spice to Cancer Fighter
In the study, which appears in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal
Cancer, researchers evaluated the effects of curcumin on three
different melanoma cell lines in varying doses and duration.
The results showed that the curry spice inhibited cancer cell viability and
triggered cell death in three different melanoma cell samples. While all doses
used were shown to decrease cancer cell lines, higher doses were shown to be
Researchers say curcumin triggered the natural process of cell death, known
as apoptosis. The spice suppresses the production of proteins normally found in
cancer cells that prevent the cancerous cells from dying off. The bigger the
dose of curcumin that was delivered, the more cancer cells died.
Although curcumin was effective at altering pathways that lead to cancer
cell death, researchers say the curry ingredient had no effect on other
pathways associated with cancer cell proliferation.
They say further studies to determine the effects of curcumin in animal
models of melanoma and human studies are needed before the curry ingredient can
be transformed into a potential cancer treatment.