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      Curcumin: A review of anti-cancer properties and therapeutic activity in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

      review-article

      1 , 1 , 3 , 1 , 2 , , 1 , 3

      Molecular Cancer

      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is a polyphenol derived from the Curcuma longa plant, commonly known as turmeric. Curcumin has been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, as it is nontoxic and has a variety of therapeutic properties including anti-oxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic activity. More recently curcumin has been found to possess anti-cancer activities via its effect on a variety of biological pathways involved in mutagenesis, oncogene expression, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, tumorigenesis and metastasis. Curcumin has shown anti-proliferative effect in multiple cancers, and is an inhibitor of the transcription factor NF-κB and downstream gene products (including c-myc, Bcl-2, COX-2, NOS, Cyclin D1, TNF-α, interleukins and MMP-9). In addition, curcumin affects a variety of growth factor receptors and cell adhesion molecules involved in tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis. Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and treatment protocols include disfiguring surgery, platinum-based chemotherapy and radiation, all of which may result in tremendous patient morbidity. As a result, there is significant interest in developing adjuvant chemotherapies to augment currently available treatment protocols, which may allow decreased side effects and toxicity without compromising therapeutic efficacy. Curcumin is one such potential candidate, and this review presents an overview of the current in vitro and in vivo data supporting its therapeutic activity in head and neck cancer as well as some of the challenges concerning its development as an adjuvant chemotherapeutic agent.

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          Most cited references 162

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          CDK inhibitors: positive and negative regulators of G1-phase progression.

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            Beclin 1, an autophagy gene essential for early embryonic development, is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor.

            The biochemical properties of beclin 1 suggest a role in two fundamentally important cell biological pathways: autophagy and apoptosis. We show here that beclin 1-/- mutant mice die early in embryogenesis and beclin 1+/- mutant mice suffer from a high incidence of spontaneous tumors. These tumors continue to express wild-type beclin 1 mRNA and protein, establishing that beclin 1 is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor gene. Beclin 1-/- embryonic stem cells have a severely altered autophagic response, whereas their apoptotic response to serum withdrawal or UV light is normal. These results demonstrate that beclin 1 is a critical component of mammalian autophagy and establish a role for autophagy in tumor suppression. They both provide a biological explanation for recent evidence implicating beclin 1 in human cancer and suggest that mutations in other genes operating in this pathway may contribute to tumor formation through deregulation of autophagy.
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              Missing pieces in the NF-kappaB puzzle.

              The regulation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB activity occurs at several levels including controlled cytoplasmic-nuclear shuttling and modulation of its transcriptional activity. A critical component in NF-kappaB regulation is the IkappaB kinase (IKK) complex. This review is focused on recent progress as well as unanswered questions regarding the regulation and function of NF-kappaB and IKK.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Mol Cancer
                Molecular Cancer
                BioMed Central
                1476-4598
                2011
                7 February 2011
                : 10
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Surgery, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, West Los Angeles, CA, USA
                [2 ]Division of Head and Neck Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
                [3 ]Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
                Article
                1476-4598-10-12
                10.1186/1476-4598-10-12
                3055228
                21299897
                Copyright ©2011 Wilken et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

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