Protection for Radiation Therapy

ABSTRACT: Curry ingredient protects skin against radiation

The phrase "curry is the spice of life" has gained new meaning due to research by Paul Okunieff and Ivan Ding at the James P Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, NY, USA.

Turmeric, a common ingredient in curry, is used in some traditional Indian societies as a topical treatment for burns. Now researchers have shown that it can also protect skin during radiotherapy.

Curcumin is responsible for the yellow colour of tumeric and it acts in a similar way to COX2; it alters the function of nuclear factor kB and inhibits angiogenesis. Okunieff and Ding treated mice with breast cancer and xenografts of human oesophageal squamous carcinoma and adenocarcinoma with purified curcumin given by intraperitoneal and intragastric injections.

Treatment was given according to several different schedules before and after radiation. All treatments inhibited adverse skin reactions to extremely high radiation doses (eg, 60 Gy) and reduced inflammatory skin and muscle chemokines compared with controls, particularly monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP1), macrophage inflammatory protein 2 (MIP2), MIP1 a and B, and RANTES.

The intraperitoneal route was slightly more effective than the intragastric route.

According to Okunieff, "improvement seemed to be caused by a decrease in mononuclear inflammatory cell infiltrates, and the concentration of MCP1 in the blood appeared to correlate with the concentration in the local tissues indicating a potential surrogate marker for clinical studies."

In vitro studies showed that curcumin increases tumour cell apoptosis, decreases cell growth rate, and reduces the number of clonogenic cells in a dose-dependent manner.

Hiroshi Inano at the Research Center for Radiation Safety, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Japan, says the results are very interesting and that he hopes to be able to use curcumin in clinical application, particularly given its low toxicity and strong antioxidant activity.

[12/10/2002; Lancet Oncology]

Thanks to breastcancer.net


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