Curcumol: From Plant Roots to Cancer Roots

Int J Biol Sci. 2019 Jun 4;15(8):1600-1609. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.34716. eCollection 2019.


Natural products, an infinite treasure of bioactive scaffolds, have provided an excellent reservoir for the discovery of drugs since millennium. These naturally occurring, biologically active and therapeutically effective chemical entities have emerged as novel paradigm for the prevention of various diseases. This review aims to give an update on the sources as well as pharmacological profile of curcumol, a pharmacologically active sesquiterpenoid, which is an imperative bioactive constituent of several plants mainly from genus Curcuma. Curcumol has potential to fight against cancer, oxidative stress, neurodegeneration, microbial infections, and inflammation. Curcumol has been documented as potent inducer of apoptosis in numerous cancer cells via targeting key signaling pathways as MAPK/ERK, PI3K/Akt and NF-κB which are generally deregulated in several cancers. The reported data reveals multitarget activity of curcumol in cancer treatment suggesting its importance as anticancer drug in future. It is speculated that curcumol may provide an excellent opportunity for the cure of cancer but further investigations on mechanism of its action and preclinical trials are still mandatory to further validate the potential of this natural cancer killer in anticancer therapies.

Keywords: Anticancer; Biological activities; Curcumol; Natural products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biological Products / chemistry
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Plant Roots / chemistry*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Sesquiterpenes / chemistry
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • curcumol
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt