Chemotherapy of pancreatic cancer with the monoterpene perillyl alcohol

Cancer Lett. 1995 Sep 4;96(1):15-21. doi: 10.1016/0304-3835(95)03912-g.


Perillyl alcohol has antitumor activity against rat mammary and liver cancer. Here, we report the chemotherapeutic effects of perillyl alcohol on pancreatic cancer. Perillyl alcohol reduced the growth of hamster pancreatic tumors to less than half that of controls (P < 0.025). Moreover, 16% of perillyl alcohol-treated pancreatic tumors completely regressed whereas no control tumors regressed (P < 0.05). Perillyl alcohol induced contact inhibition in cultured human pancreatic carcinoma cells and inhibited their anchorage-independent growth (P < 0.001). Thus, perillyl alcohol has antitumor activity against pancreatic carcinomas at non-toxic doses, and may be an effective chemotherapeutic agent for human pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / drug therapy*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cricetinae
  • Growth Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Monoterpenes*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Terpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Monoterpenes
  • Terpenes
  • perillyl alcohol