Curcumin (Turmeric) and cancer

J BUON. Sept-Oct 2016;21(5):1050-1060.


Curcumin is a substance obtained from the root of the turmeric plant, which has the feature of being a yellow or orange pigment. It is also the main component of curry powder commonly used in Asian cuisine. Curcumin, a substance that has had an important place in traditional Indian and Chinese medicines for thousands of years, has been the center of interest for scientific studies especially in the field of cancer treatment for several years. Laboratory studies have presented some favorable results in terms of curcumin's antioxidant, antiinflammatory and anticancer properties in particular. However, since such findings have yet to be confirmed in clinical studies, its effect on humans is not clearly known. Therefore, when its advantages in terms of toxicity, cost and availability as well as the favorable results achieved in laboratory studies are considered, it would not be wrong to say that curcumin is a substance worth being studied. However, for now the most correct approach is to abstain from its use for medical purposes due to lack of adequate reliable evidence obtained from clinical studies, and because of its potential to interfere with other drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Curcuma / chemistry*
  • Curcumin / adverse effects
  • Curcumin / isolation & purification
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts
  • Curcumin