Curcumin, a naturally occurring polyphenol in turmeric, is being studied for its possible application in the treatment and prevention of mesothelioma. Turmeric has long been believed to have anticancer properties due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Researchers at the University of Vermont found that curcumin caused pyroptotic cell death in both mouse and human in vitro models with malignant mesothelioma cell lines. Cell death was induced by the activation of the enzyme caspase-1, and the increased release of high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a nuclear protein responsible for organizing DNA and regulating transcription.
Researchers blocked production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 by inhibiting the NF-κB pathway, a protein responsible for cytokine production and cell survival which has been linked to cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
The researchers also found that the curcumin not only caused mesothelioma cell death, but also protected against inflammation, which could ultimately protect against the spread of the disease.
It should be recognized that the study involved direct delivery of curcumin to mesothelioma cancer cells, and did not attempt to determine the impact of eating turmeric on patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.
You can view the abstract here.