Piperine: role in prevention and progression of cancer

Mol Biol Rep. 2019 Oct;46(5):5617-5629. doi: 10.1007/s11033-019-04927-z. Epub 2019 Jul 4.


Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. Several pharmacological protocols have been developed in order to block tumor progression often showing partial efficacy and severe counterproductive effects. It is now conceived that a healthy lifestyle coupled with the consumption of certain phytochemicals can play a protective role against tumor development and progression. According to this vision, it has been introduced the concept of "chemoprevention". This term refers to natural agents with the capability to interfere with the tumorigenesis and metastasis, or at least, attenuate the cancer-related symptoms. Piperine (1-Piperoylpiperidine), a main extract of Piper longum and Piper nigrum, is an alkaloid with a long history of medicinal use. In fact, it exhibits a variety of biochemical and pharmaceutical properties, including chemopreventive activities without significant cytotoxic effects on normal cells, at least at doses < of 250 µg/ml. The aim of this review is to discuss the relevant molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the chemopreventive action of this natural alkaloid.

Keywords: Cancer therapy; Chemoprevention; Natural compounds; Piperine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / metabolism*
  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Benzodioxoles / metabolism*
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chemoprevention
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Piperidines / metabolism*
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / metabolism*
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Piperidines
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • piperine