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Zhai, Kevin; Brockmüller, Aranka; Kubatka, Peter; Shakibaei, Mehdi and Büsselberg, Dietrich (2020): Curcumin's Beneficial Effects on Neuroblastoma: Mechanisms, Challenges, and Potential Solutions. In: Biomolecules, Vol. 10, No. 11, 1469

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Curcumin, a natural polyphenolic compound derived from the South Asian turmeric plant (Curcuma longa), has well-characterized antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-protein-aggregate, and anticancer properties. Neuroblastoma (NB) is a cancer of the nervous system that arises primarily in pediatric patients. In order to reduce the multiple disadvantages and side effects of conventional oncologic modalities and to potentially overcome cancer drug resistance, natural substances such as curcumin are examined as complementary and supportive therapies against NB. In NB cell lines, curcumin by itself promotes apoptosis and cell cycle arrest through the suppression of serine-threonine kinase Akt and nuclear factor kappa of activated B-cells (NF-kappa B) signaling, induction of mitochondrial dysfunction, and upregulation of p53 and caspase signaling. While curcumin demonstrates anti-NB efficacy in vitro, cross-validation between NB cell types is currently lacking for many of its specific mechanistic activities. Furthermore, curcumin's low bioavailability by oral administration, poor absorption, and relative insolubility in water pose challenges to its clinical introduction. Numerous curcumin formulations, including nanoparticles, nanocarriers, and microemulsions, have been developed, with these having some success in the treatment of NB. In the future, standardization and further basic and preclinical trials will be required to ensure the safety of curcumin formulations. While the administration of curcumin is clinically safe even at high doses, clinical trials are necessary to substantiate the practical efficacy of curcumin in the prevention and treatment of NB.

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