A phase I open prospective cohort trial of curcumin plus tyrosine kinase inhibitors for EGFR-mutant advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Background: An increasing number of patients with lung cancer use natural products concurrently with conventional treatments, one of which is curcumin, or diferuloylmethane, the main ingredient in the popular spice known as curry. Curcumin has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic effects on human lung cancer cell lines and in vivo models, as well as the potential to modulate all three known pathways accounting for resistance to EGFR-TKIs. More specifically, curcumin dose-dependently suppresses EGFR expression, reduces transactivation of the MET oncogene, and reduces inflammation in the tumor microenvironment by selectively inhibiting TGF-β, IL-6, C-reactive protein (CRP) as well as TNF-α. Despite these promising findings, no studies have yet assessed the safety of introducing curcumin alongside EGFR-TKIs in a lung cancer population. Methods: We performed a phase 1 open prospective cohort study to assess the safety and feasibility of using an enhanced bioavailable formulation of curcumin (CURCUViva TM at 80 mg/ 1 capsule per day) approved and licensed by Health Canada (NPN 80027414) in conjunction with an EGFR-TKI in patients with advanced NSCLC (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02321293). The primary objective was to determine safety and feasibility. Exploratory objectives were monitoring changes in health-related quality of life using the standardized FACT-L questionnaire and evaluating anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin by measuring CRP. Results: 55 patients were approached, of whom 75% were interested in using curcumin. Completion rate (80%) and adherence (82%) levels were very high; most patients perceived the product as easy to take and were willing to take it again if it were available. Nine patients refused to participate solely due to frequent clinic visits. A total of 37 adverse events were reported, all of which were mild (Grade 1 or 2). The vast majority were pre-existing and related to TKI treatment. No biochemical or hematological evidence of toxicity was observed. Overall, there was improvement in quality of life, and improvement in the LCS of the FACT-L (p = 0.06). There was no significant change in CRP levels. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that short-term use of curcumin in EGFR-positive patients treated with TKIs is feasible and safe. We report high treatment adherence and improved quality of life with curcumin. These findings, as well as efficacy data and the effect of curcumin on other inflammation-associated biomarkers, warrant investigation in a larger phase 2 study. Clinical trial information: NCT02321293.
© 2019 by American Society of Clinical Oncology
Journal of Clinical Oncology 2019 37:15_suppl, e20611-e20611