Antitumor Activity of Curcumin in Glioblastoma
Walker, Blake C.
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Current standard-of-care treatment for glioblastoma, the most common malignant primary central nervous system (CNS) tumor, consists of surgical resection followed by adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation (Stupp protocol), providing an overall median survival of 15 months. With additional treatment using tumor-treating fields (Optune® therapy, Novocure Ltd., Haifa, Israel), survival can be extended up to 20 months. In spite of significant progress in our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis, the prognosis for patients with malignant gliomas remains poor and additional treatment modalities are critically needed. Curcumin is a bright yellow pigment found in the rhizome of the widely utilized spice, turmeric (Curcuma longa). It has long been used in South Asian traditional medicines and has been demonstrated to have in vitro antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative effects. Curcumin has been demonstrated to induce multiple cytotoxic effects in tumor cells including cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, autophagy, changes in gene expression, and disruption of molecular signaling. Additionally, curcumin has been shown to potentiate the effect of radiation on cancer cells, while exhibiting a protective effect on normal tissue. Curcumin’s positive safety profile and widespread availability make it a promising compound for future clinical trials for high-grade gliomas.