Anticancer effects of oleuropein

Biofactors. 2017 Jul 8;43(4):517-528. doi: 10.1002/biof.1366. Epub 2017 Jun 14.


Cancer cells exhibit enhanced proliferation rate and a resistance to apoptosis. Epidemiological studies suggest that olive oil intake is associated with a reduced risk of cancer. Olive oil, olives, and olive leaves contain many polyphenols, including oleuropein. Recently, several studies have demonstrated that oleuropein inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in different cancer cell lines. In addition, anticancer effects of oleuropein have been seen in animal studies. These effects are associated with oleuropein's ability to modulate gene expression and activity of a variety of different signaling proteins that play a role in proliferation and apoptosis. This article summarizes the existing in vitro and in vivo studies focusing on the anticancer effects of oleuropein and its effects on key signaling molecules. © 2017 BioFactors, 43(4):517-528, 2017.

Keywords: apoptosis; cancer; cell signaling; oleuropein; olive tree; proliferation; survival.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids / therapeutic use*
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • oleuropein