Randomized Trial of Curcumin to Reduce Mucositis in Autologous Transplant Setting

  • End date
    May 16, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Tata Memorial Centre
Updated on 30 May 2021


Mucositis is a very common complication in bone marrow transplant setting. It is a result of injury to the gut caused by high dose chemotherapy. Currently there are no universal protocols that have been accepted as a standard to prevent and treat mucositis in the transplant setting. Post transplant upto 80% of patients suffer from a severe mucositis. Proinflammatory cytokines play a major role in the development of mucositis. Interventions that decrease the levels of these cytokines may be beneficial in preventing mucositis. This study is aimed at evaluating the role of curcumin in reducing cytokine levels and the incidence and duration of mucositis in patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation.


Mucositis is an inevitable side-effect of intensive conditioning therapy used for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and affects the quality of life of patients undergoing transplant. The incidence of oral mucositis (WHO grades 3/4 ) with certain myeloablative conditioning regimens has been reported in up to 90% with range of severe mucositis (WHO grade 3/4) from 10 to 78%. Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, IL-17, TNF-, TGF-B, IFN- and certain prostaglandins play a central role in its pathogenesis. Transcription factors such as NF-kappa B, modify the genetic expression of these cytokines and enzymes which are critical in producing tissue damage.

A number of agents and methods have been investigated to prevent or reduce mucositis in transplant setting. Some of them are amifostine, caphasol, palifermin, cryotherapy, chlorhexidine, glutamine, GM-CSF, histamine, misoprostol, laser therapy and traumeel, but only palifermin and cryotherapy have shown significant benefit.

Curcumin, polyphenol derivative with low toxicity profile, is commonly used in India for its anti-inflammatory actions. Curcumin inhibits various inflammatory cytokines through inhibition of Nuclear Factor Kappa- . It is derived from the plant Curcuma longa. In vitro studies have shown potent anti-inflammatory activity at concentrations of 1 umol/L.

The investigators conducted the first study evaluating the role of curcumin on oral mucositis in transplant setting. In this pilot study (n=40), patients who received curcumin lozenges (n=30) had decreased levels of salivary TGF-, IL-17 and serum PGE2 compared to patients who did not receive the curcumin lozenges (n=10). Patients who received the curcumin lozenges had higher levels of serum IL-8 which is a prohealing cytokine. The incidence of grade 3 and 4 oral mucositis and diarrhea was less in those who received curcumin lozenges. Curcumin lozenges were also well tolerated and none of the 30 patients who were administered curcumin developed any treatment related grade 3/4 toxicity. This encouraging data is the basis of the current phase III randomized study comparing curcumin lozenges to placebo, to assess the ability of curcumin to reduce the incidence and duration of oral mucositis in patients undergoing autologous bone marrow transplantation.

The formulation being used is a Solip Lipid Curcumin microParticle (SLCP). The formulation is developed by Pharmanza Herbals Pvt. Ltd., Gujarat, India. Gota et al reported a phase I clinical trial of SLCP where upto 4 grams of the formulation containing 20-30% curcumin was evaluated for safety and pharmacokinetics in patients with high-risk osteosarcoma (Ref). The SLCP formulation showed oral bioavailability of curcumin with linear pharmacokinetics. Average peak plasma concentration of 41 ng/mL was observed at the highest dose level of 4g. All doses were well tolerated and no adverse events were observed. Based on these observations (on safety and bioavailability), and the reported anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, it was envisaged that it could be potentially useful for the prophylaxis and treatment of oral mucositis following high-dose chemotherapy.

Condition Stomatitis
Treatment Placebo Lozenges, Curcumin Lozenges
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04896164
SponsorTata Memorial Centre
Last Modified on30 May 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

Male or female patients 18 years and above
Patients who give written informed consent
Patients with performance status - 0,1 or 2 (ECOG scale)
Patients receiving any of the following high dose chemotherapy regimens for autologous transplant in any indicated malignant disease
Melphalan- 200 mg/m2 or more (MEL-200 mg/m2)
Busulfan and Melphalan (BuMEL)
Carmustine (BCNU), Etoposide, Cytosine Arabinoside and Melphalan ( BEAM)
Patients who have creatinine clearance > 50 ml/min
Patients with serum bilirubin levels < 2mg/dl. and serum liver enzymes (ALT or AST or both) lesser than 5 times the upper limit of normal value

Exclusion Criteria

Patients who are on NSAIDs, aspirin, antioxidants or systemic steroids for more than 3 months and the last dose taken within the last one week
Patients being treated for active infection at the time of starting high dose chemotherapy
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