Curcumin and cancer stem cells: curcumin has asymmetrical effects on cancer and normal stem cells

Anticancer Res. 2015 Feb;35(2):599-614.


Curcumin has been shown to have numerous cytotoxic effects on cancer stem cells (CSCs). This is due to its suppression of the release of cytokines, particularly interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and IL-1, which stimulate CSCs, and also to its effects at multiple sites along CSC pathways, such as Wnt, Notch, Hedgehog and FAK. In spite of its multiple actions targeting CSCs, curcumin has little toxicity against normal stem cells (NSCs). This may be due to curcumin's different effects on CSCs and NSCs.

Keywords: CXCR1; CXCR2; Curcumin; FAK pathway; Hedgehog pathway; Notch pathway; Wnt pathway; cancer stem cells; interleukin-1; interleukin-6; interleukin-8; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemokines / physiology
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Stem Cells / drug effects*


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Curcumin