Curry Spice Cuts Cancer: Curcumin found to inhibit melanoma growth

Curcumin, the yellow pigment found in the spice turmeric and a key ingredient in yellow curry inhibits melanoma cell growth and stimulates tumour cell death, according to researchers. The new study is to be published in the August 15, 2005 issue of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

As well as showing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, curcumin has been shown to have anticancer properties. In other tumours, it has been demonstrated to inhibit tumour growth and stimulate apoptosis, a mechanism for cells of all types to “kill” themselves. To evaluate the compound’s efficacy in melanoma, researchers led by Razelle Kurzrock, MD treated three melanoma cell lines with curcumin at different doses and for different duration.

Results show that curcumin treatment decreased cell viability in all three cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, curcumin induced apoptosis in tumour cells at high concentrations for short periods of time and low concentrations for long periods of time – a new finding in the study of curcumin.

“Based on our studies, we conclude the curcumin is a potent suppressor of cell viability and inducer of apoptosis in melanoma cell lines,” said the authors, adding “Future investigation to determine the effects of curcumin in animal models of melanoma and clinical trials are planned.”

John Wiley & Sons, Inc, July 11, 2005