But what is even more remarkable about the new study is that the researchers found curcumin outperformed the combination chemotherapy treatment (5-FU/oxaliplatin) in decreasing the cancer stem cell linked spheroid formation: “In addition, curcumin alone decreased spheroid number to a greater extent than the 5-FU/oxaliplatin treatments.”
This tremendously provocative finding is given only brief mention in the paper. When you look at the toxicological risks associated with chemotherapy agents like 5-FU, which have an oral LD50 in rats of only 230 milligrams/per kilogram, and compare it to curcumin, with an LD50 in rats of 12.2 grams/per kilogram, you can begin to appreciate the revolutionary implications of this research. [Note: An LD50 is the dose required to kill 50% of a test population of animals, i.e. the lethal dose 50%.] Technically, therefore, 5-FU is 53 times more toxic than curcumin, yet according to this research, less capable in combination with oxaliplatin of killing cancer spheroids than curcumin. Oxaliplatin itself has an oral LD50 in rats of about 100 mg per kilogram, making it 122 times more toxic than curcumin. For additional information on the relative toxicity and ineffectiveness of chemotherapy in comparison to natural substances, you can also read: Research: Pineapple Enzyme Kills Cancer Without Killing You.
Clearly, findings like these reveal the conventional chemotherapy paradigm for what it is: a toxicological nightmare offering only questionable efficacy relative to food-derived compounds. The authors of the study acknowledge that, “Curcumin may provide added benefit in subsets of patients when administered with FOLFOX, and is a well-tolerated chemotherapy adjunct.”
We concur that this is true, especially considering that curcumin has been found to reduce the side effects caused by conventional treatment. But is that all? Shouldn’t curcumin be considered a first-line treatment itself? While the researchers do mention in their concluding remarks that, “Greater pro-apoptotic [inducing cancer suicide programs] and CSC [cancer stem cell] targeting efficacy was observed for curcumin than for oxaliplatin and 5-FU in a small patient subset, warranting further investigation to determine factors that influence response to curcumin,” this doesn’t seem strong enough. We believe that given the great burden not only of cancer, but cancer treatment-related morbidity and mortality, it is ethically imperative that curcumin should be investigated as the active intervention in future clinical trials compared with conventional treatment. We can no longer pretend that the reason why curcumin is not studied on par with patented chemical medicines is because of a lack of compelling research. This study proves it exists. The key is breaking through the mile high paywall (approximately 800 million dollars needed to fund the requisite clinical trials) that separates natural non-patented substances from FDA-drug approval. In the meantime, a growing population is taking their health into their own hands, and finding ways to prevent and even treat cancer through dietary interventions and related natural approaches.
For those doubtful that curcumin possesses significant anti-cancer properties, please review our curcumin database which contains over 1500 studies showing it’s value in over one hundred different types of cancer here: Curcumin research. You can also look at our research and article on Turmeric, which includes even more research on the value of this ancient healing spice: Turmeric Health Guide. Finally, use our Cancer Research Health Guide for an even more comprehensive set of data on natural interventions for a variety of cancers.