Curcumin nanoformulations: a future nanomedicine for cancer

Drug Discov Today. 2012 Jan;17(1-2):71-80. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2011.09.009. Epub 2011 Sep 18.


Curcumin, a natural diphenolic compound derived from turmeric Curcuma longa, has proven to be a modulator of intracellular signaling pathways that control cancer cell growth, inflammation, invasion and apoptosis, revealing its anticancer potential. In this review, we focus on the design and development of nanoparticles, self-assemblies, nanogels, liposomes and complex fabrication for sustained and efficient curcumin delivery. We also discuss the anticancer applications and clinical benefits of nanocurcumin formulations. Only a few novel multifunctional and composite nanosystem strategies offer simultaneous therapy as well as imaging characteristics. We also summarize the challenges to developing curcumin delivery platforms and up-to-date solutions for improving curcumin bioavailability and anticancer potential for therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Curcumin / chemistry*
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Nanomedicine / methods*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Curcumin