Antiproliferative effect of oleuropein in prostate cell lines

Int J Oncol. 2012 Jul;41(1):31-8. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2012.1428. Epub 2012 Apr 5.


Currently, there is increasing interest in the in vivo protective effects of natural antioxidants found in dietary plants against oxidative damage caused by free radical species. Oxidative stress has been invoked as a causative agent in cancer and epidemiological data suggest that the consumption of fruits and vegetables may be associated with a lower incidence of cancer. The fruit of the Olea europaea L. and olive oil contain hundreds of phytochemicals and its extracts have recently been shown to exhibit antioxidant properties, due to the action of oleuropein. In view of these considerations, in this study, we investigated the effects of oleuropein on LNCaP and DU145 prostate cancer cell lines and on BPH-1 non-malignant cells. Oleuropein reduces cell viability and induces thiol group modifications, γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase, reactive oxygen species, pAkt and heme oxygenase-1. Exposing cell cultures to oleuropein induces an antioxidant effect on BPH-1 cells and a pro-oxidant effect on cancer cells. Our results confirm the beneficial properties of olive oil and oleuropein, suggesting its possible use as an adjuvant agent in the treatment of prostatitis, in order to prevent the transformation of hypertrophic to cancerous cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Glutamate-Cysteine Ligase / metabolism
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Male
  • Necrosis / chemically induced
  • Necrosis / enzymology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Pyrans / pharmacology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • Pyrans
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • oleuropein
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • HMOX1 protein, human
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Glutamate-Cysteine Ligase