[Curcumine (Turmeric - Curcuma longa) as a Supportive Phytotherapeutic Treatment in Oncology]

Klin Onkol. 2017 Winter;31(1):15-23. doi: 10.14735/amko201815.
[Article in Czech]


Background: Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is mainly known as a constituent of curry spice. The main active ingredient, responsible for most of its biological effects, is the polyphenol curcumin.

Aim: This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of studies evaluating the benefits of therapeutic curcumin use in oncology. Preclinical studies provide information on the mechanism of action and potential toxicity of curcumin. Clinical studies have so far focused mainly on safety, pharmacokinetics, and determination of the optimal dose of curcumin. However, there are a growing number of trials evaluating the anti-tumor and oncopreventive effects of curcumin and its effect in alleviating the adverse effects of chemotherapeutics and radiotherapy. So far, the results have been optimistic and should encourage further research. The main problem associated with curcumin treatment is its low oral bioavailability, which means it must administrated at high doses to be effective. Therefore, curcumin is more appropriate as a local treatment for areas such as the intestine, mucous membrane, or the skin, where there is no need for a strong systemic effect. Curcumin has a good safety profile when used up to several grams. Curcumin can also be used as a food supplement for people at increased risk of oncological disease, such as heavy smokers or those with pre-cancerous lesions. Due to its good safety profile, curcumin can be recommended to oncological patients who request a natural treatment.Key words: phytotherapy - drug-herb interactions - cancer - adverse effects - curcumine - turmeric - Curcuma longaSubmitted: 20. 7. 2017Accepted: 25. 9. 2017 This publication was written at Masaryk University as part of the project "Behavioural psychopharmacology and pharmacokinetics in preclinical drug research", number MUNI/A/1132/2017 with the support of the Specific University Research Grant, as provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic in the year 2018. The authors declare they have no potential conflicts of interest concerning drugs, products, or services used in the study. The Editorial Board declares that the manuscript met the ICMJE recommendation for biomedical papers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Curcuma
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Curcumin