Turmeric, or curcumin (diferuloylmethane), may be a favorable agent for the prevention and treatment of esophageal cancer, according to researchers at the Cork Cancer Research Center and Mercy University Hospital in Cork, Ireland. The authors noted that turmeric was able to induce cell death by a mechanism that is not reliant on apoptosis induction.
They examined the effects of curcumin on esophageal cancer cell lines, focusing on mitotic catastrophe, apoptosis, and autophagy. They found that curcumin-responsive cells accumulated poly-ubiquitinated proteins and cyclin B, which was consistent with a disturbance of the ubiquitin-proteasome system.
"This effect...may be responsible for the mitotic disturbances and consequent cytotoxicity of [curcumin]," they wrote (Br J Cancer online, October 6, 2009).