Fondo Verelst para combatir el cáncer de útero


Location: Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
Collaboration: Prof. Dr. Amant & Prof. Dr. Vergote


Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in the Western world. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are possible treatments for endometrial cancer. Unfortunately,  to this day, the survival rate is low for patients with advanced and recurring endometrial cancer using these treatments Therefore, new treatment options for endometrial cancer need to be developed.


First clinical trial

The effect of curcumin on the immune system is examined in the preparatory clinical trial. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, a spice and the plant it goes from. Curcumin is said to have anti-cancer properties and reduces acute and chronic inflammations. Cancer patients have higher inflammation values in the blood. Chronic inflammations supress the immune system.
An 8-gram dose of curcumin is considered to be safe by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During this clinical trial, ten patients are given a daily dose of two grams for two weeks. The team studies whether curcumin is able to stop the tumour’s negative effect on the immune system.

Professional info

Location: Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
Collaboration: Prof. Dr. Amant & Prof. Dr. Vergote


Uterine cancer is the most frequent malignancy of the female genital tract and the fourth most frequent cancer in women in the developed world. At the moment, cancer treatment modalities for uterine cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Currently treatment of advanced and recurrent uterine cancer leads to a poor survival rate. Therefore the development of new treatment strategies for uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma, is crucial.





Curcumin or diferuloylmethane is the major constituent and the active component in the spice turmeric and is available as food supplement. Commercially available natural curcumin is a mixture of three curcuminoids: curcumin (70-75%), demethoxycurcumin (15-20%) and bisdemethoxycurcumin (5-10%). Curcumin preparations have been used in various clinical trials in cancer or other diseases in doses up to 8 g daily without major side effects and is generally regarded safe (GRAS label) by the FDA. It is currently being investigated for its anticancer and chemo sensitizing effects and anti-inflammatory properties.
You can find more information on curcumin here.
A monocentric, prospective phase II trial to determine the effect of curcumin on inflammatory mediators (among which IL-6, IL-8, PGE2, neopterin, TNF-α and CRP) and immunomodulatory cell types (MDSC, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio) in endometrial carcinoma will take place at the University Hospital (UZ) of Leuven under the supervision of Professor Frederic Amant. Curcumin (2g) will be administered daily on an oral basis during 2 weeks before initiating the current standard of care treatment in patients with recurrent endometrial carcinoma.
For more information about the clinical trial, please contact sandra [dot] tuyaerts@uzleuven [dot] be.



During the course of tumor growth, tumors cells develop mechanisms to evade attack by the immune system. Consequently, immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment is established. These immunosuppressive mechanisms constitute a major hurdle for effective anti-tumor vaccination. Therefore, we are exploring which immunosuppressive mechanisms are used by endometrial cancers. We are looking at various tumor-induced (STAT3, immunosuppressive mediators, IDO, etc.) as well as immune-related (regulatory T cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, CTLA-4, PD-1, etc.) suppressive pathways. The idea is to select the most predominantly used mechanism in endometrial cancer for further development. Our current data point to PD-1/PD-L1, B7-H4, Arginase-1 and regulatory T cells as promising targets in endometrial cancer (Vanderstraeten et al, manuscript submitted to CII).