Jing Zhu, Qian Li, Zhongping Wu, Ying Xu, Rilei Jiang

Curcumin for Treating Breast Cancer: A Review of Molecular Mechanisms, Combinations with Anticancer Drugs, and Nanosystems

  • Pharmaceutical Science

Breast cancer (BC) has become the fifth most prevalent cause of cancer-related morbidity, attracting significant attention from researchers due to its heightened malignancy and drug resistance. Conventional chemotherapy approaches have proven inadequate in addressing all BC subtypes, highlighting the urgent need for novel therapeutic approaches or drugs. Curcumin (CUR), a phytochemical derived from Curcuma longa (turmeric), has shown substantial potential in inhibiting BC cell migration, metastasis, and proliferation. However, the use of CUR in this context comes with challenges due to its dynamic and easily degradable nature, poor aqueous solubility, low bioavailability, rapid metabolism, and swift systemic elimination, collectively limiting its clinical applications. As such, we provide an overview of the properties, synthesis, and characterization of the hybridization of CUR and its analogue with chemo-drug building blocks. We reviewed research from the last five years on CUR’s biogenesis with respect to the regulation of BC, revealing that CUR participates in arresting BC cells in the cell cycle and significantly induces apoptosis in BC cells. Information on the chemotherapeutic and antitumor mechanisms of CUR in BC, including regulation of the cell cycle, increased cell apoptosis, and inhibition of multidrug resistance (MDR), was compiled. Additionally, we provide an overview of CUR loaded into nanomaterials that are cotreated with other chemotherapeutic drugs, such as paclitaxel, thymoquinone, and tamoxifen. In this review, we discuss different types of nanoparticles that can be used for CUR delivery, such as polymeric nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, and liposomes. By comparing the size, entrapment efficiency, drug-loading capacity, release time, biocompatibility, pharmaceutical scale, and reproducibility of various nanomaterials, we aimed to determine which formulations are better suited for loading CUR or its analogue. Ultimately, this review is expected to offer inspiring ideas, promising strategies, and potential pathways for developing advanced anti-BC strategy nanosystems in clinical practice.

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