Antioxidant, antiproliferative, and pro-apoptotic capacities of pentacyclic triterpenes found in the skin of olives on MCF-7 human breast cancer cells and their effects on DNA damage

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jan 12;59(1):121-30. doi: 10.1021/jf102319y. Epub 2010 Dec 10.


This research aimed to investigate erythrodiol, uvaol, oleanolic acid, and maslinic acid scavenging capacities and their effects on cytotoxicity, cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) level, and oxidative DNA damage on human MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. The results showed that erythrodiol, uvaol, and oleanolic acid have a significant cytotoxic effect and inhibit proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. At 100 μM, erythrodiol growth inhibition occurred through apoptosis, with the observation of important ROS production and DNA damage, whereas uvaol and oleanolic acid growth inhibition involved cell cycle arrest. Moreover, although all tested triterpenes did not show free radical scavenging activity using ABTS and DPPH assays, they protected against oxidative DNA damage at the concentration 10 μM. Uvaol and oleanolic and maslinic acids, tested at 10 and 100 μM, also reduced intracellular ROS level and prevented H(2)O(2)-induced oxidative injury. Overall, the results suggest that tested triterpenes may have the potential to provide significant natural defense against human breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Growth Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Olea / chemistry*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Triterpenes