Turmeric Blocks the Onset of Head and Neck Cancers In Vitro and Vivo

By Kyle J. Norton

Cancer is a group of the medical disease characterized by cell growth irregularly in the organ tissue caused by DNA alternation.

Head and neck cancer (HNC) is a group of cancers located in the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, sinuses, or salivary glands.

According to the statistics, head and neck cancer accounts for about 4% of all cancers in the US. In 2019, approximately 65,410 American including 48,000 men and 17,410 women will develop head and neck cancer.

The overall survival rate of 5 years after diagnosis is 62%.

Use of tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption are considered the most prevalent factor associated with the increased risk of the disease.

Additionally, viral infection including human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (for oropharyngeal cancer), and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection (for nasopharyngeal cancer) are also found in some patients with HNC.

Epidemiologically, the overall incidence of HNC is decreasing in the US, particularly in those of younger age group. However, the incidence of HPV-related cancers of the oropharynx is increased at an alarming rate.
Dr. Moustafa Mourad,, the lead scientist wrote, “The overall incidence of HNC is decreasing in the United States. However, there is an increasing incidence of HPV-related cancers of the oropharynx. Meaningful differences in cancer incidence and rate of change exist between men and women”.

In the explanation of such increase, the study suggested, “The recent increase in HPV-related cancer could be due to increased rates of oral HPV exposure, because markers of high-risk sexual behavior such as younger ages of sexual debut, premarital sex, average number of lifetime partners, and the practice of oral sex have increased among recent birth cohorts in the United States”.
In other words, the risk of HPV-related HNC is also depending on the sexual behavior of individuals.

Turmeric is a perennial plant in the genus Curcuma, belonging to the family Zingiberaceae, native to tropical South Asia.

The herb has been used in traditional medicine as anti-oxidant, hypoglycemic, colorant, antiseptic, wound healing agent, and to treat flatulence, bloating, and appetite loss, ulcers, eczema, inflammations, etc.

In the urgency to find a potential compound for the treatment of head and neck cancers. researchers the anticancer activity of a novel oral agent, curcumin on FaDu and Cal27 cell lines.

According to the tested analysis, curcumin inhibited growth and induced apoptosis of the FaDu and Cal27 cell lines associated with the inhibition of the migration of head and neck cancers (HNSCC) and blocking the tumor angiogenetic activity.

Furthermore, curcumin also induced the cancer cell death by activating of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway (caspase-9) and extrinsic apoptotic pathway (caspase-8).

More precisely, the anti-HNSCC efficacy of curcumin was attributed to the activation of the pathway and nuclear factors associated with the DNA damage.

In vivo, injection of curcumin increased gene expression of SIRT1 in the regulation of cellular biological function in a xenograft mouse model.

In other words, by targeting the gene SIRT1 that promotes the survival of aging cells and increase cancer risk, curcumin not only can increase the chemo drug efficacy but also reduced the risk of side effects.

Taken altogether, turmeric processed abundantly bioactive compound curcumin may be considered supplements for the prevention and treatment of head and neck cancers, pending to the confirmation of the larger sample size and multicenter human study.

Intake of turmeric in the form of supplement should be taken with extreme care to prevent overdose acute liver toxicity.
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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Disilgold.com Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Curcumin as therapeutics for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by activating SIRT1 by Hu A1, Huang JJ2, Li RL3, Lu ZY3, Duan JL3, Xu WH1, Chen XP1, Fan JP. (PubMed)
(2) Synthetic curcumin analog UBS109 inhibits the growth of head and necksquamous cell carcinoma xenografts by Zhu S, Moore TW, Morii N, Howard RB, Culver D, Arrendale RF, Reddy P, Evers TJ, Zhang H, Sica G, Chen ZG, Sun A, Fu H, Khuri FR, Shin DM, Snyder JP, Shoji M. (PubMed)
(3) Epidemiological Trends of Head and Neck Cancer in the United States: A SEER Population Study by Moustafa Mourad, MD,* Thomas Jetmore, MD,† Ameya A. Jategaonkar, MD,‡ Sami Moubayed, MD,§ Erin Moshier, PhD,║ and Mark L. Urken, MD. (PMC)