“The cancer drug paclitaxel just got more effective. For the first time, researchers have packaged it in containers derived from a patient’s own immune system, protecting the drug from being destroyed by the body’s own defenses and bringing the entire payload to the tumor…
“That means we can use 50 times less of the drug and still get the same results said Elena Batrakova, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “That matters because we may eventually be able to treat patients with smaller and more accurate doses of powerful chemotherapy drugs resulting in more effective treatment with fewer and milder side effects…
Paclitaxel is a potent drug used in the United States as a first- and second-line treatment for breast, lung and pancreatic cancers…”
Background: The clinical efficacy of curcumin has not yet been established for the treatment of cancer, despite a large body of evidence from numerous preclinical studies suggesting the therapeutic potential of curcumin, particularly in a synergistic combination with paclitaxel. The main obstacle in using curcumin for adjunctive cancer therapy is its low bioavailability via oral administration.
Purpose: We assessed the efficacy and safety of intravenous curcumin infusion in combination with paclitaxel in patients with metastatic and advanced breast cancer…
Methods: A total of 150 women with advanced and metastatic breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive either paclitaxel (80 mg/m2) plus placebo or paclitaxel plus curcumin (CUC-1®, 300 mg solution, once per week) intravenously for 12 weeks with 3 months of follow-up. The primary outcome was determined based on the objective response rate (ORR), as assessed by the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST). The secondary outcomes were progression-free survival (PFS), time to tumor progression (TTP), time to tumor treatment failure (TTTF), safety, and quality of life.
Results: The intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis revealed that the ORR of curcumin was significantly higher than that of the placebo (51% vs. 33%, p < 0.01) at 4 weeks of follow-up. The difference between the groups was even greater when only patients who had completed the treatment (61% vs. 38%, odds ratio ==2.64, p < 0.01) were included. A superior effect of curcumin vs placebo was observed in both patients who had completed the treatment and all patients included in the ITT analysis, 3 months after termination of the treatment. No other significant differences were observed between the curcumin and the placebo groups, except for fatigue (3 vs. 10 patients, respectively; odds ratio ==3.7, p = 0.05). However, the patients’ self-assessed overall physical performance was significantly higher with curcumin than the placebo during the treatment and at the end of the follow-up, suggesting better tolerance in the curcumin group.
Conclusions: Overall, treatment with curcumin in combination with paclitaxel was superior to the paclitaxel-placebo combination with respect to ORR and physical performance after 12 weeks of treatment. Intravenously administered curcumin caused no major safety issues and no reduction in quality of life, and it may be beneficial in reducing fatigue…”