Curcumin Enriched VCO Protects against 7,12-Dimethyl Benz[a] Anthracene-Induced Skin Papilloma in Mice

Nutr Cancer. 2021;73(5):809-816. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2020.1778745. Epub 2020 Jun 12.


Virgin coconut oil (VCO) and turmeric are traditionally being used in Indian cuisine systems; VCO is a natural combination of medium-chain triglyceride and polyphenols with established pharmacological potential. Curcumin isolated from turmeric is renowned for its anticancer properties, however, with limited clinical success due to poor bioavailability. Considering the lipophilic nature of VCO, curcumin added to VCO is expected to have synergistic/additive actions. In this study, the chemopreventive potential of curcumin enriched VCO (VCr) (4 and 8 mL/Kg orally) was analyzed in 7,12-dimethyl benz[a]anthracene (DMBA;470 nmoles/200 µL/week for two weeks topical)/croton oil (3% v/v in 200 µL acetone twice a week for 6 weeks topical) induced skin papilloma. In DMBA control animals, an average incidence of 13 papilloma/mice (latency period of 11.6 ± 1.5 weeks) was recorded. Pretreatment with VCrH (8 mL/kg) had a 60% inhibition of tumor index, and an increased latency period (12.5 ± 0.9 weeks). Additionally, DMBA/croton oil-induced reduction in glutathione levels and concomitant increase in thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) in the skin microenvironment were restored by VCr. The study thus suggests that the VCr promotes antioxidant status in vivo and imparts an improved anticarcinogenic potential. However, further studies are necessary to ascertain the improvement in bioavailability of curcumin .

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Anthracenes
  • Coconut Oil
  • Curcumin* / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Papilloma* / chemically induced
  • Papilloma* / prevention & control
  • Plant Extracts
  • Skin Neoplasms* / chemically induced
  • Skin Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Anthracenes
  • Plant Extracts
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Curcumin
  • Coconut Oil