Perillyl alcohol inhibits human breast cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2004 Apr;84(3):251-60. doi: 10.1023/B:BREA.0000019966.97011.4d.


The effect of monoterpene perillyl alcohol (POH) on cell growth, cell cycle progression, and expression of cell cycle-regulatory proteins in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive (KPL-1 and MCF-7) and ER-negative (MKL-F and MDA-MB-231) human breast cancer cell lines was examined. POH inhibited cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner in all cell lines tested. POH at a dose of 500 micro M had a cytostatic effect, in which growth inhibition was due to accumulation of cells in G1-phase. Cell cycle progression was preceded by a decrease in G1 cyclins (cyclin D1 and E), followed by an increase in p21(Cip1/Waf1) and a decrease in proliferating cell nuclear antigen level. Levels of p53 and cyclin A were unchanged. POH at a dose of 75 mg/kg administered intraperitoneally three times a week throughout the entire 6-week experimental period suppressed orthotopically transplanted KPL-1 tumor cell growth and regional lymph node metastasis in a nude mouse system. POH inhibited both ER-positive and -negative human breast cancer cell growth in vitro, and suppressed growth and metastasis in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cyclins / biosynthesis
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cyclins
  • Monoterpenes
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • perillyl alcohol