Curcumin, the pigment responsible for turmeric's yellow color, can stop the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells, according to a study in the September 2002 issue of the journal Cancer.
Researchers treated a human pancreatic cell line with different concentrations of curcumin for two hours, then examined curcumin's effect on cancer cell growth and its effects on the production of interleukin-8, a type of protein known as a cytokine produced by white blood cells. Interleukin-8 controls inflammation and contributes to tumor growth.
Curcumin inhibited the production of interleukin-8. In addition, pretreating the cells with curcumin significantly inhibited the growth rate of cancer cells. The researchers concluded that curcumin reduces a number of interleukin-8 activities that contribute to tumor growth. The researchers concluded "curcumin is a potent anticancer agent that inhibits the production of proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-8, by tumor cells."
Hidaka H, Ishiko T, Furuhashi T, Kamohara H, Suzuki S, Miyazaki M, Ikeda O, Mita S, Setoguchi T, Ogawa M. Curcumin inhibits interleukin 8 production and enhances interleukin 8 receptor expression on the cell surface: impact on human pancreatic carcinoma cell growth by autocrine regulation. Cancer. 2002 Sep 15;95(6):1206-14.