Citrus reticulata peel oil inhibits non-small cell lung cancer cell proliferation in culture and implanted in nude mice

Food Funct. 2018 Apr 25;9(4):2290-2299. doi: 10.1039/C7FO01912B.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for most cases of lung cancer. The peel oil of mandarin Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. Dancy (MPO) is a natural source of essential oils and carotenoids. Volatile and non-volatile lipid compounds were characterized by chromatographic methods. We demonstrate that MPO causes a dose-dependent growth inhibition of NSCLC model cells (A549) in culture and tumour growth in vivo of the same cells implanted in nude mice fed with MPO-supplemented diets. MPO induced cell cycle arrest mainly at the G0/G1 phase and reduced the amount of membrane-bound Ras protein along with apoptosis induction. No toxicological effect was found in liver parameters analysed in treated mice and histopathological analyses of their organs did not show any morphological changes. In conclusion, the data suggest that MPO possesses significant antitumor activity without causing systemic toxicity, proposing it as a dietary supplement that may be helpful in cancer prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / physiopathology
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Citrus / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage*
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils