Synergistic Interplay between Curcumin and Polyphenol-Rich Foods in the Mediterranean Diet: Therapeutic Prospects for Neurofibromatosis 1 Patients.
Nutrients. 2017 Jul 21 ;9(7). Epub 2017 Jul 21. PMID: 28754004
Neurofibromas are the hallmark lesions in Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1); these tumors are classified as cutaneous, subcutaneous and plexiform. In contrast to cutaneous and subcutaneous neurofibromas, plexiform neurofibromas can grow quickly and progress to malignancy. Curcumin, a turmeric-derived polyphenol, has been shown to interact with several molecular targets implicated in carcinogenesis. Here, we describe the impact of different dietary patterns, namely Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) compared to the Western diet (WesDiet), both with or without curcumin, on NF1 patients' health. After six months, patients adopting a traditional MedDiet enriched with 1200 mg curcumin per day (MedDietCurcumin) presented a significant reduction in the number and volume of cutaneous neurofibromas; these results were confirmed in subsequent evaluations. Notably, in one patient, a large cranial plexiform neurofibroma exhibited a reduction in volume (28%) confirmed by Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Conversely, neither unenriched MedDiet nor WesDiet enriched with curcumin exhibited any significant positive effect. We hypothesize that the combination of a polyphenol-rich Mediterranean diet and curcumin was responsible for the beneficial effect observed on NF1. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first experience with curcumin supplementation in NF1 patients. Our report suggests that an integrated nutritional approach may effectively aid in the management of NF1.