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J Cancer Prev. 2014 Jun;19(2):103-10. doi: 10.15430/JCP.2014.19.2.103.

Carnosol: a phenolic diterpene with cancer chemopreventive potential.

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College of Pharmacy, Keimyung University, Daegu, Korea.


Cancer is an unbeaten health challenge for the humankind. After striving for decades to find a cancer cure, attention has now been shifted to reduce the morbidity and mortality from cancer by halting the course of tumor development. Numerous bioactive phytochemicals, especially those present in edible and non-edible plant species, have been reported to reduce the risk of many cancers. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that carnosol, a phenolic diterpene present in rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), holds the promise of preventing certain types of cancer. A remarkable progress has been made in delineating the biochemical mechanisms underlying the chemopreventive effects of carnosol. Results from in vitro cell culture studies as well as animal model experiments have revealed that carnosol inhibits experimentally induced carcinogenesis and exhibits potent anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative and apoptosis inducing properties. Moreover, carnosol enhances the sensitivity of chemoresistant cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents. The purpose of this review is to shed light on the detailed mechanistic aspects of cancer chemoprevention with carnosol.


Antiangiogenic; Antiinflammatory; Antioxidants; Antiproliferative; Carnosol; Chemosensitization

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