He ZY, et al. Upregulation of p53 expression in patients with colorectal cancer by administration of curcumin. Cancer Invest. 2011 Mar;29(3):208-13.
This study examined oral curcumin supplementation in newly diagnosed patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Using the waiting period before surgery as the supplement therapy period, 126 patients were randomized to receive curcumin 360 mg three times daily (n=63) or vehicle capsule (placebo; n=63) prior to primary surgery for a period of 10 to 30 days. Postsurgical treatment included radiotherapy (n=31), chemotherapy (n=84), or both (n=9), but 20 patients received no additional chemotherapy. Treatment with curcumin led to body weight gain, with observed increases in p53 expression, DNA fragmentation, and Bax and Bcl-2 modulation. No significant differences between groups were noted for calorie intake or diarrhea events, and there were no cases of CRC-caused obstruction to affect interpretation of results. Investigators concluded that a supplemental remedy of presurgical curcumin could improve the general health of patients with CRC and provide a novel method to improve cachexia.
Kuptniratsaikul V, et al. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):891-7.
This study included 107 patients with primary knee osteoarthritis with pain score of > or =5. Participants were randomized to receive 800 mg/day ibuprofen or 2g/day C. domestica extracts for 6 weeks. Improvement in pain on level walking, pain on stairs, and functions of the knee assessed by time spent during a 100-m walk and going up and down a flight of stairs were the primary outcome measures. The authors reported significant improvement at 0, 2, 4 and 6 weeks compared with baseline values in both groups, with the exception of pain on stairs (p = 0.016). Adverse events also did not differ much between the groups (33.3% vs 44.2%, p = 0.36 with C. domestica extracts and ibuprofen). C. domestica extracts demonstrated efficacy and were safe compared with ibuprofen in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, but the small sample size of this study warrants further research.
Baum L, et al. Six-month randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, pilot clinical trial of curcumin in patients with Alzheimer disease. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2008 Feb;28(1):110-3.
Twenty-seven patients with progressive decline in memory and cognitive function for 6 months were randomized to receive 4 g, 1 g (with 3 g color-matched placebo powder) or 4 g of placebo once daily for 6 months. Patients were also given one capsule containing 120 mg standardized ginkgo leaf extract as it showed moderate benefit in previous studies. A Mini-Mental State Examination was administered at baseline and at 6 months. Plasma and serum were monitored at 0, 1, and 6 months for levels of antioxidants, amyloid-beta, and liver and kidney function. Researchers reported lack of cognitive decline in patients in the placebo group precluding any conclusions about the beneficial effects of curcumin. However, serum amyloid-beta levels were higher in the curcumin group regardless of dose, compared with placebo. This suggests that curcumin may play a role in disaggregating amyloid-beta deposits in the brain releasing them into circulation. No adverse effects were observed with curcumin intake. Long-term, larger studies are needed to further evaluate curcumin’s role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Dhillon N, et al. Phase II trial of curcumin in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Jul 15;14(14):4491-9.
Twenty-five patients with advanced pancreatic cancer were given 8 g curcumin daily, orally, until disease progression, with restaging every 2 months. Serum cytokine levels for interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, and IL-1 receptor antagonists and peripheral blood mononuclear cell expression of NF-kappaB and cyclooxygenase-2 were monitored. Researchers observed downregulated expression of NF-kappaB, cyclooxygenase-2, and phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients, many of whom had high baseline values compared with healthy volunteers. Clinically relevant biological activity was seen in two patients. Curcumin should be evaluated in larger, randomized trials. Increasing its bioavailability may render it more effective.
Baum L, et al. Curcumin effects on blood lipid profile in a 6-month human study. Pharmacol Res. 2007 Dec;56(6):509-14.
The effects of curcumin on blood lipid profiles were assessed in this randomized, double-blind study of 36 elderly participants. Subjects were separated into a control or curcumin-treated groups (1 or 4 g/day), and serum lipid profiles were measured at baseline, 1 month, and 6 months. The side effects were similar between the groups. No significant differences in serum lipid profiles were detected upon curcumin administration; however, levels of absorbed curcumin were modestly associated with increased cholesterol concentration. Larger studies are required to determine if curcumin supplementation may increase cholesterol levels.
Hanai H, et al. Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Dec;4(12):1502-6.
Eighty-nine patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis were randomized to receive curcumin, 1g after breakfast and 1g after the evening meal, plus sulfasalazine (SZ) or mesalamine, or placebo plus SZ or mesalamine for 6 months. Clinical activity index (CAI) and endoscopic index (EI) were determined at baseline, every 2 months (CAI), at the end of the trial, and at the 6-month follow-up. The recurrence rates showed significant difference between curcumin and placebo groups (p = 0.049). Curcumin also improved both CAI (p = 0.038) and EI (p = 0.0001) thereby reducing the morbidity associated with ulcerative colitis. Two patients on curcumin relapsed during the study period compared with 8 in the placebo group. A 6-month follow-up showed that an additional 8 patients in the curcumin group and 6 in the placebo group relapsed. Further studies are needed to evaluate curcumin's potential as a maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis.