Wool grease-derived alpha-monohydric fatty alcohols are carcinostatic depending on their branched alkyl moiety bulkiness

Anticancer Res. 1996 Sep-Oct;16(5A):2479-84.


Wool fatty alcohols (WF-Alc) separated from esterolysates of sheep cutaneous wax were fractionated by molecular distillation and HPLC, resulting in two homogeneous antitumor compounds identified by GC-MS and 13C-/1H-NMR as a-monohydric branched saturated fatty alcohols, 14-methyl-1-pentadecanol (iso-C16OH) and 14-methyl-1-hexadecanol (anteiso-C17OH). Both the alcohols markedly prolonged the life-span of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma- or S180 fibrosarcoma-implanted mice without acute toxic side-effects, whereas other iso- or n-fatty alcohols (C16-C30) contained in WF-Alc were slightly effective. Thus antitumor activity of WF-Alc depended on the molecular balanced hydrophobicity attributed to both the branched alkyl moiety bulkiness derived from the diverse fatty alcohols contained, and a hydroxyl group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Fatty Alcohols / chemistry*
  • Fatty Alcohols / isolation & purification
  • Fatty Alcohols / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Sheep
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Waxes / chemistry*
  • Wool / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Waxes