Background: Research over the past several years has developed many mono-targeted therapies for the prevention and treatment of cancer, but it still remains one of the fatal diseases in the world killing 8.2 million people annually. It has been well-established that development of chemoresistance in cancer cells against mono-targeted chemotherapeutic agents by modulation of multiple survival pathways is the major cause of failure of cancer chemotherapy. Therefore, inhibition of these pathways by non-toxic multi-targeted agents may have profoundly high potential in preventing drug resistance and sensitizing cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents.
Objective: To study the potential of curcumin, a multi-targeted natural compound, obtained from the plant Turmeric (Curcuma longa) in combination with standard chemotherapeutic agents to inhibit drug resistance and sensitize cancer cells to these agents based on available literature and patents.
Method: An extensive literature survey was performed in PubMed and Google for the chemosensitizing potential of curcumin in different cancers published so far and the patents published during 2014-2015.
Result: Our search resulted in many in vitro, in vivo and clinical reports signifying the chemosensitizing potential of curcumin in diverse cancers. There were 160 in vitro studies, 62 in vivo studies and 5 clinical studies. Moreover, 11 studies reported on hybrid curcumin: the next generation of curcumin based therapeutics. Also, 34 patents on curcumin's biological activity have been retrieved.
Conclusion: Altogether, the present study reveals the enormous potential of curcumin, a natural, non-toxic, multi-targeted agent in overcoming drug resistance in cancer cells and sensitizing them to chemotherapeutic drugs.