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Throat Cancer

Affecting more men than women, esophageal cancer is still a relatively uncommon cancer. However, it is also associated with a very low 5-year survival rate—only a little over 17% for white men and women, about 13% for black women, and less than 10% of black men. Even when caught in an early stage when the cancer is still localized, 5-year survival rates are still only about 37%.65

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Recurrent or metastatic cancer of the esophagus is typically treated with cisplatin or a combination cisplatin/carboplatin chemotherapy, but this conventional treatment is so toxic that its use is often limited. Recent laboratory experiments investigated whether pre-treating (or “priming”) human laryngeal carcinoma cancer cell lines with either curcumin or quercetin would increase the ability of cisplatin to induce cancer cell self-destruction. The hope was that this would increase the drug’s therapeutic effectiveness in the limited dosages a patient can handle and minimize debilitating side effects.44

Quercetin pre-treatment significantly increased mitochondrial membrane permeability in the cancer cells, and when followed with cisplatin treatment cellular death activation was over two times greater than in cells treated with cisplatin alone. Neither quercetin nor curcumin seemed to activate more antioxidant enzymes than cisplatin alone, suggesting that the primary means of chemotherapy enhancement with this particular cancer was through inhibiting or promoting proteins affecting mitochondrial pathways.44

 
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