Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Treatment of Intestinal Adenomas in Patients With Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Gastroenterology. 2018 Sep;155(3):668-673. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.05.031. Epub 2018 May 23.


Background & aims: Familial adenomatous polyposis is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the development of hundreds of colorectal adenomas and eventually colorectal cancer. Oral administration of the spice curcumin has been followed by regression of polyps in patients with this disorder. We performed a double-blinded randomized trial to determine the safety and efficacy of curcumin in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis.

Methods: This study included 44 patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (18-85 years old) who had not undergone colectomy or had undergone colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis or ileal anal pouches, had at least 5 intestinal adenomatous polyps, and had enrolled in Puerto Rico or the United States from September 2011 through November 2016. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to groups given 100% pure curcumin (1,500 mg orally, twice per day) or identical-appearing placebo capsules for 12 months. The number and size of lower gastrointestinal tract polyps were evaluated every 4 months for 1 year. The primary outcome was the number of polyps in the curcumin and placebo groups at 12 months or at the time of withdrawal from the study according to the intention-to-treat principle.

Results: After 1 year of treatment, the average rate of compliance was 83% in the curcumin group and 91% in the placebo group. After 12 weeks, there was no significant difference in the mean number of polyps between the placebo group (18.6; 95% CI, 9.3-27.8) and the curcumin group (22.6; 95% CI, 12.1-33.1; P = .58). We found no significant difference in mean polyp size between the curcumin group (2.3 mm; 95% CI, 1.8-2.8) and the placebo group (2.1 mm; 95% CI, 1.5-2.7; P = .76). Adverse events were few, with no significant differences between groups.

Conclusions: In a double-blinded randomized trial of patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, we found no difference in the mean number or size of lower intestinal tract adenomas between patients given curcumin 3,000 mg/day and those given placebo for 12 weeks. Clinicaltrials.gov ID NCT00641147.

Keywords: Cancer Prevention; Familial Adenomatous Polyposis; Herbal; Turmeric.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenoma / etiology
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / complications
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / drug therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Curcumin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00641147