Curcumin and Tamoxifen in breast cancer

Curcumin and Tamoxifen in breast cancer

A single report based on a laboratory test that curcumin or turmeric might reduce the effectiveness of Tamoxifen seems misleading as studies involving the whole body have produced the opposite result and shown that turmeric can block enzymes that break down tamoxifen.

There is a significant amount of research demonstrating the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric, and specifically there is research showing its ability to prevent growth and spread in breast cancer (1)

We have also previously reported a number of studies showing that turmeric actually enhances the action of a number of drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer – while it helps protect healthy cells it acts synergistically with chemotherapy to attack cancer cells.

Go to: Convincing evidence turmeric improves chemo

Because of its power, some scientists wonder if it might also block a few drugs. And there was one study, but only in 'Petri dishes' in the laboratory, that Turmeric might inhibit P450 2DK, one of the enzymes that activates Tamoxifen. Sadly this study seems to have had a lot of coverage.

It is worth noting, that another similar Laboratory in vitro study (2) found the opposite.

But this issue is 'What happens in real life?' 

When used in vivo other factors come in to play, and again the opposite seems true – in one study (3) they found that curcumin enhanced the bioavailability of tamoxifen because it prevents the metabolism of the drug in the small intestine and/or liver by blocking an enzyme CYP3A4.

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive added, “I think Tamoxifen needs all the help it can get. In my annual UK speech questions from the floor broke down into a discussion between breast cancer patients on how they had been told it made just 1-3% difference. The above research shows the limitation of just dropping a compound onto some cells. There can be no picture of what happens inside the whole body where clearly a multitude of factors comes in to play. Curcumin/turmeric seems to stop the breakdown of Tamoxifen in other areas of the body increasing its availability.

We have an extensive report on Tamoxifen, what improves its actions and what weakens them."

Go to: The Truth about Tamoxifen





  Approved by the Medical Board. Click Here 


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