Anti-cancer effects of cinnamon: Insights into its apoptosis effects

Eur J Med Chem. 2019 Sep 15;178:131-140. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.05.067. Epub 2019 Jun 1.


Cancer is known as a leading cause of death worldwide. In the last two decades, the incidence of cancer has been dramatically increased mostly due to lifestyle changes. The importance of this issue has attracted further attention to discover novel therapies to prevent and treat cancers. According to previous studies, drugs used to treat cancer have shown significant limitations. Therefore, the role of herbal medicines alone or in combination with chemotherapy drugs has been extensively studied in cancer treatment. Cinnamon is a natural component showing a wide range of pharmacological functions including anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and anti-cancer activities. Impaired apoptosis plays critical roles in the initiation and progression of cancer. Increasing evidence indicates that cinnamon, as a therapeutic agent, has anti-cancer effects via affecting numerous apoptosis-related pathways in cancer cells. Here, we highlighted anticancer properties of cinnamon, particularly through targeting apoptosis-related mechanisms.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cancer; Cinnamon; Therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / analogs & derivatives
  • Acrolein / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Benzoates / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum / chemistry*
  • Eugenol / pharmacology
  • Eugenol / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • 2'-benzoyloxycinnamaldehyde
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzoates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Eugenol
  • Acrolein
  • cinnamaldehyde