Curcumin-the paradigm of a multi-target natural compound with applications in cancer prevention and treatment

Toxins (Basel). 2010 Jan;2(1):128-62. doi: 10.3390/toxins2010128. Epub 2010 Jan 21.


As cancer is a multifactor disease, it may require treatment with compounds able to target multiple intracellular components. We summarize here how curcumin is able to modulate many components of intracellular signaling pathways implicated in inflammation, cell proliferation and invasion and to induce genetic modulations eventually leading to tumor cell death. Clinical applications of this natural compound were initially limited by its low solubility and bioavailability in both plasma and tissues but combination with adjuvant and delivery vehicles was reported to largely improve bio-availability of curcumin. Moreover, curcumin was reported to act in synergism with several natural compounds or synthetic agents commonly used in chemotherapy. Based on this, curcumin could thus be considered as a good candidate for cancer prevention and treatment when used alone or in combination with other conventional treatments.

Keywords: cancer; cell proliferation; curcumin; genomic; inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Biological Availability
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Curcumin* / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Curcumin