A proprietary lecithin delivery system of curcumin (Meriva) was evaluated in a controlled study to assess its efficacy in alleviating the side effects of cancer chemo- and radiotherapy in 160 patients undergoing these treatments. In both cases, a semi-quantitative evaluation of the side effects was carried out using a visual analogue scale, assessing also the plasma free radical status in all patients. Results showed that lecithinized curcumin might alleviate the burden of side effects associated to chemo- and radiotherapy, suggesting that the anecdotal use of various preparations of curcumin as a supportive agent for cancer treatment is well worth a systematic investigation in larger scale clinical trials. The capacity of curcumin to upregulate anti-oxidative responses and downregulate inflammatory pathways could explain its beneficial effect in tempering the prolonged and systemic oxidative and inflammatory effects of cancer treatment, and the beneficial effects observed in the plasma oxidative status in all patients of the treatment group support this view.
Keywords: Meriva; cancer; chemotherapy; curcumin; radiotherapy; supportive care.
© 2013 The Authors. Phytotherapy Research published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.