Curcumin based nanomedicines as efficient nanoplatform for treatment of cancer: New developments in reversing cancer drug resistance, rapid internalization, and improved anticancer efficacy

Shahzeb Khan, Muhammad Imran, Tariq Tahir Butt, Syed Wadood Ali Shah, Muhammad Sohail, Arif Malik, Srijit Das, Hnin Ei Thu, Aishah Adam, Zahid Hussain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cancer is a group of diseases involving an abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled fashion and in some cases metastasize to the surrounding tissues (malignancy). Resistance to chemotherapy is typically intrinsic (heterogeneity); however, acquired resistance has also become prevelant due to multiple factors including expression of energy-dependent transporters causing expulsion of internalized drug contents extracellular, insensitivity of tumor cells to drug-induced apoptosis, and induction of drug-detoxifying mechanisms. Curcumin (CUR) has gained widespread recognition due to remarkable anticancer, anti-mutagenic, and anti-metastasizing potentials via downregulation of proliferation of cancer cells and induction of apoptosis. Nevertheless, pharmaceutical significance and therapeutic feasibility of CUR is restricted due to intrinsic physicochemical characteristics including poor aqueous solubility, inadequate biological stability, low bioavailability, and short half-life. Scope and approach: Owing to these pharmaceutical limitations of CUR, nanodelivery systems have attained remarkable fascination in the recent years. Therefore, this review was aimed to overview and critically ponders recent developments in improving anticancer viability of CUR. Key findings and conclusion: Critical analysis of the literature revealed that nanodelivery systems showed promising efficiency in achieving tumor specific targetability, maximizing internalization of drugs into cancer cells, mitigating tumor metastasis, as well as improving anticancer efficacy of CUR. Moreover, nanocarrier-mediated improved pharmacokinetics, drug accumulation, induced promising cytotoxicity, and enhanced anticancer efficacy by suppressing Egr-1 induction, Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, and protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) cascades while mitigating the progression of tumor, have also been discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-22
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Active targeting
  • Cancer
  • Curcumin
  • Nanotechnology
  • Passive targeting
  • Targeted delivery
  • Upgradation of anticancer efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science

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