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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Jul;53(7):897-903. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200800269.

Hydroxytyrosol inhibits the proliferation of human colon adenocarcinoma cells through inhibition of ERK1/2 and cyclin D1.

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Molecular Nutrition Group, School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy, University of Reading, Reading, UK.


Extra virgin olive oil is rich in phenolic compounds which are believed to exert beneficial effects against many pathological processes, including the development of colon cancer. We show that one of the major polyphenolic constituents of extra virgin olive oil, hydroxytyrosol (HT), exerts strong antiproliferative effects against human colon adenocarcinoma cells via its ability to induce a cell cycle block in G2/M. These antiproliferative effects were preceded by a strong inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 phosphorylation and a downstream reduction of cyclin D1 expression, rather than by inhibition of p38 activity and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression. These findings are of particular relevance due to the high colonic concentration of HT compared to the other olive oil polyphenols and may help explain the inverse link between colon cancer and olive oil consumption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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