Curcumin or Diferoylmethane derived from turmeric (Curcuma longa) is widely used in Ayurvedic medicinal practice. For decades Curcumin’s pharmacological properties have been widely researched and it seems to have potential in cancer treatment and inflammatory related health conditions. Researches on curcumin involving various diseases have been constantly performed and this includes hematologic cancers treatment.

Hematologic cancers; cancer of the bone marrow comprises cancers of the blood as well as blood-forming tissues including acute and chronic leukaemia, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma.


Hematologic Cancers Treatment: Researches on Leukemia Treatment

Leukemia refers to a group of red bone marrow cancers where abnormal white blood cells increase in numbers uncontrollably. Leukemia warning signs include tiredness, pale skin and reduced tolerance to cold, among others. What causes leukemia is still unknown but its risk factors encompass exposure to radiation, environment and surroundings, microbes, chemotherapy treatment and genetics.

Curcumin’s therapeutic properties for leukemia treatment are extensively studied, both in-vitro and in-vivo. Anand et al. (2008) have compiled various researches on curcumin’s ability and its efficacy in counteracting cancer cell lines. Anuchapreeda et al. (2006) meanwhile have conducted a study demonstrating the inhibitory effect of curcumin on MDR1 gene expression in patient leukemic cells.

In leukemia treatment researches, curcumin has also been shown to:

  • Inhibit production of bFGF, a potent growth signal for cancer cells (Arbiser JL et al 1998).
  • Increase expression of the cancer-protective p53 gene in leukemia cell lines, thus making them more susceptible to cell death (Jee SH et al 1998).
  • Reduce the production of the inflammatory cytokine, TNF-alpha (Xu YX et al 1997).


Curcumin And Hematologic Cancers Treatment: Lymphoma Treatment

Lymphoma is a type of cancer involving the immune system cells. It is a group of cancers that affect the cells that play a role in the immune system. The exact causes of lymphoma are still unknown but the risk factors include viral infections, toxin, pollution, genetics, medical conditions that compromise the immune system and old age. Typically, lymphoma initial warning sign is a painless swelling in the neck, under arm, or in the groin.

In quite a number of researches for curcumin lymphoma treatment, scientists found that curcumin inhibit cellular proliferation and enhance apoptosis in a variety of lymphoma cell lines (Aggarwal et al., 2007; Wu et al., 2002; Thompson et al., 2004; Skommer et al., 2006). Curcumin also inhibited the growth of both murine and human B lymphoma (Gururajan et al., 2007).


Research on Hematologic Cancers Treatment: Curcumin for Multiple Myeloma Treatment

Multiple myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow where the cells grow out of control in the bone marrow thus forming tumors in the areas of solid bone. Typically, multiple myeloma affects older adults with a history of radiation therapy treatment. Multiple myeloma causes anaemia, which increases the likelihood of a person to infections and abnormal bleeding.

Several researches’ reports have suggested that curcumin for multiple myeloma treatment exhibited an anti-proliferative effect against multiple myeloma cells. Curcumin has also shown activities against multiple myeloma cell lines as well as against the fresh CD138+ multiple myeloma cells derived from patient’s bone marrow. Interestingly, curcumin was also found to synergize with the dexamethasone used routinely in the treatment of multiple myeloma patients (Aggarwal et al., 2007).

Curcumin May Assist Hematologic Cancers Treatment

Curcumin has not been evaluated clinically for hematologic cancers treatment. Nevertheless, a pre-clinical research published in “Clinical Cancer Research” stated that it may help to destroy chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. In December 2010 issue of “Cancer, Biotherapy & Radiopharmaceuticals”, a laboratory result reported that curcumin induces leukemia cell death.

Please consult your doctor prior to adding curcumin supplement into your diet.


A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia (2011)
Aggarwal, B.B., Bhatt, I.D., Ichikawa, H., Ahn, K.S., Sethi, G., Sandur, S.K., Sundaram, C., Seeram, N., Shishodia, S. (2007). Curcumin- biological and medicinal properties, in: Ravindran, P.N., Babu, K.N., Sivaraman, K. (Eds.). Turmeric the Genus Curcuma. CRC Press, NY. Pp. 297-368.
Anand, P., Sundaram, C., Jhurani, S., Kunnumakkara, A.B., Aggarwal, B.B. (2008). Curcumin and cancer: An “old-age” diseases with and “age-old” solution. Cancer Letters. 267:133-164
Anuchapreeda, S., Thanarattanakorn, P., Sittipreechacharn, S., Tima, S., Chanarat, P., Limtrakul, P. (2006). Inhibitory effect of curcumin on MDR1 gene expression in patient leukemic cells. Arch. Pharm. Res. 29:866-873
Gururajan, M., Dasu, T., Shahidain, S., Jennings, C.D., Robertson, D.A., Rangnekar, V.M., Bondada, S. (2007). Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk), a novel target of curcumin, is required for B lymphoma growth. J. Immunol. 178:111-121
Labbozzetta, M., Notarbartolo, M., Poma, P., Giannitrapani, L., Cervello, M., Montalto, G., D’Alessandro, N. (2006). Significance of autologous interleukin-6 production in the HA22T/VGH cell model of hepatocellular carcinoma. Ann.NY Acad. Sci. 1089:268-275
Skommer, J., Wlodkowic, D., Pelkonen, J. (2006). Cellular foundation of curcumin-induced apoptosis in foliicular lymphoma cell lines. Exp. Hematol. 34:463-474
Thompson, K.H., Bohmerle, K., Polishchuk, E., Martins, C., Toleikis, P., Tse, J., Yuen, V., Mcneill, J.H., Orvig, C. (2004). Complementary inhibition of synoviocyte, smooth muscle cell or lymphoma cell proliferation by a vanadyl curcumin complex compared to curcumin alone. J. Inorg. Biochem. 98:2063-2070
Tortora, G.J., Derrickson, B.H. (2009). Leukemia in Principles of Anatomy and Physiology 12th Edition. John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd. Pp 712
Wu, Y., Chen, Y., Xu, J., Lu, L. (2002). Anticancer activities of curcumin on human Burkitt’s lymphoma. Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi. 348-352


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