Clinical Evidence

Curcumin and Lung Cancer: the Role of microRNAs
Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23:1–5
Around the world, lung cancer is considered as one of the most common types of cancer as each year it is responsible for >1.4 million deaths. Lung cancer is typically differentiated into two types, viz. non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (representing about 80% of all lung cancers) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) (representing the remaining 20% of the cases). Though a lot of improvement in terms of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies has occurred in recent times, but overall survival rate (> 5-year) is meagre 10–20%. Additionally, late diagnosis and lack of effective treatments has led to poor prognosis.

Poor efficacy as well as associated serious adverse effects makes most of the conventional therapies for lung cancer of little help. However, curcumin from turmeric ( Curcuma longa) can be a promising anti-cancer agent as many of its biological and pharmacological effects are proven to be mediated via modulation of multiple molecular targets and various signaling pathways, including micro-RNAs (MiRNAs)―a small, single-strand, non-coding RNAs, which are considered as key regulators of biological processes involved in lung cancer.

To briefly describe the action of curcumin in regulating the miRNA involved in lung cancer.

Study Design:

In the present review, role of mRNAs in the pathogenesis of lung cancer, anti-cancer activity of curcumin in lung cancer and different mechanisms involved, and its chemosensitizing properties for various chemotherapeutic agents have been discussed. In addition, studies evaluating the role of curcumin in modulating several miRNAs have been highlighted.

Results and Discussion:
  • Anti-cancer potential of curcumin against lung cancer has been shown in both cellular and experimental models
  • Curcumin acts by modulating several molecular targets and signaling pathways that lead to cell apoptosis, inhibition of cell proliferation and migration, and also chemo- and radio-sensitization of lung cancer cells
  • Scores of studies have recently shown that therapeutic efficacy of curcumin in lung cancer is also mediated by modulation of several miRNAs

Micro-RNAs play an important role in the pathogenesis of lung cancer and thus can be considered as potential candidate for therapeutic targets. Curcumin promises to be an effective alternative to conventional therapies owing to its regulatory effects against oncogenic and tumor-suppressive miRNAs in lung cancer.