Antitumor Perspectives of Oleuropein and Its Metabolite Hydroxytyrosol: Recent Updates

J Food Sci. 2018 Jul;83(7):1781-1791. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.14198. Epub 2018 Jun 21.


Olive fruit is a significant and promising source of potential bioactive compounds such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. Oleuropein is the ester of elenolic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl ethanol (HT). It is the main glycoside in olives, the degradation of which results in the formation of hydroxytyrosol in olive oil. Both plays a significant role in the reduction of coronary heart diseases and a certain type of cancers. Both olive oil phenols have an effective role counter to cell proliferation, cell growth, migration, invasion, and angiogenesis. They down regulate the expression of BCL-2 and COX-2 proteins, and reduced DNA damage. Hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein inhibited the multiple stages in colon carcinogenesis; initiation, promotion, and metastasis. They also provide protection against various human cancers including colorectal, skin, breast, thyroid, digestive, lung, brain, blood, and cervical. This review article discusses the anticancer perspectives and mechanisms of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol in cell cultures and animal and human studies.

Keywords: anticancer perspectives; hydroxytyrosol; metabolism; oleuropein; olive oil phenols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Coronary Disease / drug therapy
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids / pharmacology
  • Iridoids / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control
  • Olea
  • Olive Oil / chemistry*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / therapeutic use
  • Pyrans


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • Olive Oil
  • Pyrans
  • 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol
  • oleuropein
  • elenolic acid
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol