Turmeric Compounds and Kidney Cancer

Turmeric Compounds and Kidney Cancer Prevention

Did you know rates of kidney cancer are increasing in many countries? Conversely, countries such as India and in Southeast Asia are known to have lower rates of most types of cancer. In fact, India has 90% less incidence of kidney cancer. Some authors suggest the difference be that traditional diets in these countries include lots of turmeric, and modern scientific research shows that there may be valid reason to think adding turmeric to your diet could help prevent renal and other types of cancer(vi.1-2148)

Types of Kidney Cancer and Prognosis

Renal cell adenocarcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer diagnosed. It develops in the tiny tubes that filter waste from the blood. Other types include renal pelvis carcinoma, which occurs where urine collects in the kidney, and Wilms tumor, which is typically found in very young children. (vi.240316)

Even with surgical removal of localized cancer, only about 40% will survive to 5 years. In over 30% of patients the cancer will recur and spread. (vi.240316)

Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer

A number of health conditions, lifestyle, and substances can increase the risk of developing cancer in the kidneys. These include:

  • Dietary: Population studies suggest there's an increased risk of renal cancer and acrylamides. In an animal study, oral curcumin (from turmeric) reduced evidence of DNA breaks caused by acrylamides formed when starchy foods (such as potatoes and bread) are fried in oil at high temperatures. (vi.189)
  • Toxic chemicals: Smoking, exposure to pesticides, and ingestion of poisons (such as arsenic) can introduce chemicals that may increase risk of kidney cancer. (vi.221317-318)
  • Genetic conditions (e.g., von Hippel-Lindau disease). (vi.317)
  • Metabolic syndrome conditions: These include obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance, and abnormal cholesterol/triglyceride levels. For example, the risks of developing and dying from kidney cancer are both higher in people with diabetes than those without the condition. And disturbing findings of a recently published study by doctors at Emory University School of Medicine show that rates of kidney cancer amongst young teens have significantly increased - which they suggest may be due to increased rates of adolescent obesity. (vi.319-320)
  • Pain medication (long term misuse). (vi.317)

Turmeric Activity against Kidney Cancer

Turmeric contains phytochemical compounds and nutrients that research suggests can have chemopreventive effects against kidney cancer. These include:

Table VI.37: Turmeric's Phytochemical and Nutrient Effects in Kidney Cancer
Turmeric Compound Effects

Caffeic acid (74)

VEGF growth factor which promotes angiogenesis to feed tumor cells. (vi.78)

Curcumin (74)

Apoptosis type of cell death in malignant cells, including enhancing effectiveness of conventional drug therapies(vi.240)

Nrf-2, a transcription factor protein that activates natural antioxidants, in cells that line kidney tubes. (vi.321)

MicroRNA that promote metastasis in kidney cancer cell lines. (vi.322)

Cancer-causing effects of carcinogens and other toxins. (vi.323)

Risk of metastasis in animal studies. (vi.240)

Proteins that promote cancer cell survival(vi.240)

COX inflammatory proteins(vi.240)

Free radicals and DNA damage(vi.240323)

Growth of kidney tumors and cancer cell proliferation in lab and animal studies. (vi.240)

Eugenol (74)

Incidence of kidney tumors caused by a carcinogenic toxin(vi.318)

Some of these anticancer effects are depicted below: (vi.78240321)

Figure VI.23 -Turmeric Compound Effects in Kidney Cancer

Figure VI.23: Turmeric Compound Effects in Kidney Cancer

Turmeric compounds could help prevent and treat conditions associated with metabolic syndrome, which are also associated with increased risk of kidney cancer. (213236240324-325)

Development of new tumor-feeding blood vessels. (vi.89)
Such as promoting death receptors (DR5) for TRAIL therapy. (vi.240)
Including HO-1. (vi.321)
Specifically, HOX transcript antisense RNA (HOTAIR). (vi.322)
Such as Bcl-2, IAP, and Bcl-xL. (vi.240)

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