Liver is an organ vital in keeping our body working properly. It operates a variety of functions which include breaking-down harmful toxins into harmless ones, our body can make use of. The main function of the liver involves controlling homeostasis of carbohydrate, lipid and amino-acid metabolism. It also functions as storage for nutrients that include glycogen, fats, and vitamin B12, A and K.

This article discusses various researches on curcumin for liver cancer treatment. Curcumin is an active ingredient extracted from turmeric that posseses many therapeutic benefits.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma, An Aggressive Liver Cancer

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive cancer which accounts for most of liver cancers cases. This cancer type occurs more often in men age 50 or older. However, the age varies in different parts of the world with high occurrence in Africa and Asia but is quite rare in the United States. The potential curative modality for HCC is surgery, including transplant. However the recurrence rate liver cancer is high and its long-term survival rate is rather poor. The major risk factors of liver cancer are hepatitis viral infection, toxic industrial chemicals, alcohol, and water pollutants.

Researches On Curcumin And Liver Cancer Treatment

There are facts indicating that high dependence on veggies, fresh fruits and spices or herbs in diet, lowered the risk for major cancers as nutraceuticals produced from natural sources are multi-targeting, inexpensive and harmless. On top of that, natural products have been researched in cell culture and animal cancer models. For the past 50 years, Curcuma Longa’s active component, curcumin, has been examined and studies have revealed that this polyphenol has the ability to provide protection against and help in liver cancer treatment. Curcumin may also curb tumor initiation, promotion and metastasis.

Anticarcinogenic (a chemical that counteracts the effect of a cancer-causing agent) activity of curcumin in hepatic cancer cells in vitro has been studied extensively. Curcumin has been found to interrupt the cell cycle, have cytotoxic effects and plays a role in anti-proliferation and the induction of a programmed cell death in a hepatocarcinoma – a form of liver cancer cell line. In vivo studies proved that curcumin had anticarcinogenic effects mediated through the induction of glutathione-linked detoxification enzymes in rat livers. Another study showed that liver was identified as the major site for the metabolism of curcumin.

Nanocurcumin for Liver Cancer Treatment

The limiting factors of curcumin such as low bioavailability, short biological half-life and poor water solubility has led to the development of nanocurcumin. Recent study has shown that nanocurcumin was found to be a potential formulation in oral route for fighting the oxidative damage of hepatic cells and eliminating DEN induced hepatocellular cancer cells in rat. In another study which involved human hepatocellular carcinoma cells, nanocurcumin inhibited cancer cells growth more effectively than normal curcumin.

Therapeutic Value Of Curcumin On Liver Cancer

Curcumin is an appealing prospect in fighting hepatocellular carcinoma as well as other varieties of cancer. The breakthrough and discoveries have demonstrated promising remedial benefits of curcumin for liver cancer treatment.  But more importantly, the studies discussed here have demonstrated that we can turn to nature for our natural alternative remedies.



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.
Aggarwal, B.B., Kumar, A., Bharti, A.C. (2003). Anticancer potential of curcumin: Preclinical and clinical studies. Anticancer Res. 23:363-398
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
Chintana, P. (2008). Role of curcumin on tumor angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma.Naresuan.Univ J. 16(3):239-254
Featherstone, B. (2008). Causes of liver disease and dysfunction in: North-Lewis, P. (Ed.) Drugs and the liver. Pharmaceutical Press. UK. Pp67-68
Ghosh, D., Choudhury, S.T., Ghosh, S., Mandal, A.K., Sarkar, S., Ghosh, A., Saha, K.D., Das, N. (2012). Nanocapsulatedcurcumin: Oral chemopreventive formulation against diethylnitrosamine induced hepatocellular carcinoma in rat. Chemico-Biological Interactions. 195:206-214
Ghosh, M., Singh, A.T.K., Xu, W., Sulchek, T., Gordon, L.I., Ryan, R.O. (2011).Curcumin Nanodisks: formulation and characterization. Nanomedicine. 7:162-167
Gupta, C., Vikram, A., Tripathi, D.N., Ramarao, P., Jena, G.B. (2010). Antioxidant and antimutagenic effect of quercetin against DEN induced hepatotoxicity in rat. Phytother. Res. 24(1): 119-128
Gupta, S.C., Kim, J.H., Kanappan, R., Reuter, S., Dougherty, P.M., Aggarwal, B.B. (2011).Role of nuclear factor-kβ-mediated inflammatory pathways in cancer-related symptoms and their regulation by nutritional agents. Exp. Biol. Med. 236:658-671
Klaunig, E., Kmendulis, L.M., Hocevar, B.A. (2010). Oxidative stress and oxidative damage in carcinogenesis.Toxicol.Path. 38:96-109
Mandal, A.K., Das, S., Mitra, M., Chakrabarti, R.N., Chatterjee,  M., Das, N. (2008). Vesicular flavonoid in combating diethylnitrosamine induced hepatocarcinoma in rat model. J. Exp. Ther. Oncol. 7:123-133
Postic, C., Dentin, R., Girard, J. (2004).Role of the liver in the control of carbohydrate and lipid homeostasis.Diabetes Metab. 30:398-408
Satish, K. (2004).The gastrointestinal system at a glance. Blackwell Science Ltd. USA. Pp26-32
Sivaramkrishnan, V., Shilpa, P.N.M., Kumar, V.R.P., Devaraj, S.N. (2008).Attenuation of N-nitrosodiethylamine-induced hepatocellular carcinogenesis by a novel flavonol-Morin. Chem. Biol. Interact. 171:79-88


(Visited 785 times, 1 visits today)