Curcumin, an ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric, can slow the growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells, according to a study on cell cultures published in the journal Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research (September, 2009). In lab research, curcumin killed TNBC cancer cells within 72 hours, without interfering with healthy cells and reduced the ability of TNBC cells to migrate to other parts of the body.
Curcumin was effective against hormone-positive cancer as well, but not to the level of its strength against TNBC.
Clinical trials will be necessary to determine the effect of curmumin on the body.
The researchers write:
These results are novel, having never been previously reported, and suggest that curcumin could provide a novel, non-toxic therapy, which could lead to improved survival for patients with triple negative breast cancer. Curcumin should be studied further in this subset of breast cancer patients, for whom treatment options are severely limited.