The Mediterranean Diet as source of bioactive compounds with multi-targeting anti-cancer profile

Eur J Med Chem. 2019 Nov 1;181:111579. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.111579. Epub 2019 Jul 31.


Many bioactive agents have been extracted from plants or belong to functional foods and have been considered in the treatment of serious and multifactorial diseases, such as cancer. In particular, this review is focused on the anti-cancer properties owned by several natural products typically from the Mediterranean area. In some regions of the South of Italy, a lower cancer incidence has been observed. There is increasing evidence that adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern correlates with reduced risk of several cancer types. This could be mainly attributed to the typical lifestyle aspects of the Mediterranean diet, such as high consumption of fruit and vegetables. In this review, the main natural products of the Mediterranean area are discussed, with particular attention on their anti-cancer properties endowed with multi-target profiles.

Keywords: Anti-oxidant; Anti-proliferative; Anticancer; Mediterranean diet; Mediterranean products; Multi-target; Natural products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / analysis
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Olive Oil / analysis
  • Olive Oil / therapeutic use
  • Vegetables / chemistry
  • Wine / analysis


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Olive Oil