Crowd source help Requested: Turmeric -Curcumin for Ovarian Cancer

This post is an attempt to crowd source for information on turmeric with curcumin in ovarian cancer. Kay, my wife, has ovarian cancer that despite the best efforts of Kay and her various oncologists and surgeons has to this point had only fairly transient responses to traditional and some experimental treatments.  Kay is in a position now of feeling well off therapy, but knowing that her biomarker, CA-125 is rising and that her cancer is on the way back again.  She is essentially between traditional treatments right now, and living with cancer. At our last consultation with Dr. Elizabeth Swisher at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Kay asked if during this time where she is off treatments, really just waiting for her cancer to grow to a point where treatment is necessary, there are any non-traditional supplements that might offer hope. Kay is not looking to circumvent the types of treatment that have kept her alive for the last 4 years, but is looking for anything else that might help.

Dr. Swisher suggested we look into and try using Turmeric with Curcumin, a Chinese herbal extract that is purported to have some modulation on apoptosis, the process of planned cellular death that may be not functioning properly in cancer cells.  I’ve done what on-line homework I can on Curcumin, and there is in fact a good deal of research going on in the use of curcumin for multiple medical conditions.  When I looked on the clinicaltrials.gov website I find 40 studies using the search keyword curcumin and another 37 on searching for turmeric.  None of these are looking at ovarian cancer, most are looking at bioavailability, pharmacokinetics or benefits in Alzheimer’s Disease, colon cancer or numerous other conditions.

I’ve done a reasonably detailed search for information on turmeric and curcumin for ovarian cancer, and not unexpectedly find good data lacking.  On a search of Pubmed for turmeric cancer 747 articles come up, but I find none that give much useful information, at least in their abstracts.  When narrowed by adding ovarian cancer 15 articles are found looking at mostly in vitro (i.e. outside the living person) studies on ovarian cancer cells and seem to show some promise.  The biggest issues with using curcumin seem to be lack of bioavailability of this highly water insoluble substance and lack of controlled blinded studies of curcumin in living cancer patients.  I don’t expect to see much of the latter, but am hoping that by putting this request out to readers and asking you to ask help from your friends I can hear feedback on the following questions:

  1. I’d love to hear anecdotal experience from anyone who has used turmeric/curcumin for ovarian cancer.
  2. Has anyone seen any hard evidence on bioavailability of commercially available products?  Kay is using the one recommended by Dr. Swisher: Turmeric Extract Curcumin C3 complex 1160 mg, 3 daily with fatty food like peanut butter.
  3. If anyone has had positive results with turmeric/curcumin what exact product and what dose did you find helpful?
  4. Anything else readers have on turmeric or curcumin that you feel may be helpful is welcome.

Please just leave any feedback in the comments section.  I’m also going to reach out on twitter for any helpful information followers may be able to offer. Thanks in advance.  This is my first try at crowd sourcing using DrPullen.com and I’m hopeful to hear back from readers. Please send on this request to anyone you think may have helpful input.

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