Targeted Transdermal Delivery of Curcumin for Breast Cancer Prevention

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 6;16(24):4949. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16244949.


N.B. This manuscript is based on the research concept submitted to the "Global Challenge to Prevent Breast Cancer" idea showcase and competition, launched in 2018 by the California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP), which was subsequently selected for publication. The hypothesis, methods, and discussion put forth here are thus proposed concept studies, which could eventually be elucidated in the future. Curcumin is an herbal supplement, shown in preclinical studies to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumoral properties that we believe can be harnessed for breast cancer prevention. However, due to its poor absorption when consumed orally, curcumin's anticancer effects have not yet been exploited to their full therapeutic potential. Incorporating existing research that focuses on the optimization of curcumin's bioavailability and the latest transdermal delivery technology, we propose, below, a hypothetical in vivo study to test whether a targeted daily dose of bioavailable curcumin has a cytotoxic effect on cancer cells, potentially reducing the incidence of breast cancer over time. Our ultimate objective is to adopt innovative methods to create curcumin-infused bio-textiles offering transdermal, targeted drug delivery, simply through contact with the skin. We would use this fabric to create disposable bra inserts for an effortless, daily breast cancer prevention regimen for healthy women. It would be essential that the cost of these inserts remain reasonable, but if successful, curcumin is readily available, affordable and non-toxic, and could thus be a preventive measure that would be beneficial for women from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Keywords: bioavailability; breast cancer prevention; curcumin; transdermal delivery.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Biological Availability
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Curcumin / pharmacokinetics
  • Female
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Skin Absorption


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Curcumin