Curcumin, a polyphenol extracted from Curcuma longa, has gained attention from scientists worldwide for its biological activities (e.g., antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral), among which its anticancer potential has been the most described. Curcumin has been reported to modulate growth factors, enzymes, transcription factors, kinase, inflammatory cytokines, and proapoptotic (by upregulation) and antiapoptotic (by downregulation) proteins. This polyphenol compound, alone or combined with other agents, could represent an effective drug for cancer therapy.
The inflammation process induces an increased production of pro-inflammatory molecules such as cytokines, ROS, cyclooxygenase (COX-2), transcription factors including nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), protein kinases B (AKT), activator protein 1 (AP1), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), causing the initiation and development of cancer. Curcumin exerts its immunomodulatory ability by interacting with several immune mediators, hence its anticancer property. Curcumin is also able to interfere with the cell signaling pathway of EGFR, a family of receptor tyrosine kinases, that is reported to be associated with the proliferation, adhesion, migration, and differentiation of cancer cells