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Review Article

Curcumin Nanofibers: A Novel Approach to Enhance the Anticancer Potential and Bioavailability of Curcuminoids

[ Vol. 30 , Issue. 3 ]


Mahshid Ataei, Basil D. Roufogalis, Muhammed Majeed, Muhammad A. Shah and Amirhossein Sahebkar*   Pages 286 - 303 ( 18 )


Development of novel treatment methods for cancer is needed given the limitations of current treatment methods, including side effects and chemotherapeutic resistance, which may provide new hope to cancer patients. Cancer is the second leading cause of global mortality. Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has been used since ancient times for various therapeutic purposes. Several studies have identified its activity against cancer. Despite the established anticancer activity of curcumin, its low aqueous solubility and bioavailability are barriers to its effectiveness. In an attempt to solve this problem, many studies have formulated curcumin nanofiber preparations using a variety of methods. Electrospinning is a simple and affordable method for the production of nanofibers. Studies have shown increased curcumin bioavailability in nanofibers resulting from their high surface/volume ratio and porosity. We have undertaken a detailed review of studies on the anticancer effects of curcumin nanofibers. Curcumin acts by inhibiting various biological cancer pathways, including NF-κB, mTOR, complex I, cytokines, expression of p-p65, Ki67, and angiogenesis-associated genes. It also induces apoptosis through activation of caspase pathways and ROS production in cancer cells. Curcumin-loaded PLA50/PVP50/Cur15 nanofibers were investigated in breast cancer, one of the most studied cancers, and was shown to have significant effects on the widely used HeLa-cell line. Most of the studies undertaken have been performed in cell lines in vitro, while relatively few animal studies have been reported. More preclinical and clinical studies are needed to evaluate the anticancer activity of curcumin nanofibers. Amongst studies undertaken, a variety of curcumin nanofibers of various formulations have been shown to suppress a variety of cancer types. Overall, curcumin nanofibers have been found to be more efficient than free curcumin. Thus, curcumin nanofibers have been observed to improvise cancer treatment, offering great potential for effective cancer management. Further studies, both in vitro and in vivo, involving curcumin nanofibers have the potential to benefit cancer management.


Curcumin, nanofiber, cancer, electrospinning, bioavailability of curcuminoids, chemotherapeutic resistance.


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