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Altern Med Rev. 1998 Dec;3(6):448-57.

Perillyl alcohol: applications in oncology.


Perillyl alcohol is a monoterpene isolated from the essential oils of lavendin, peppermint, spearmint, cherries, celery seeds, and several other plants. In animal studies it has been shown to regress pancreatic, mammary, and liver tumors, to exhibit possible application as a chemopreventative agent for colon, skin, and lung cancer, and as a chemotherapeutic agent for neuroblastoma, and prostate and colon cancer. Perillyl alcohol is active in inducing apoptosis in tumor cells without affecting normal cells and can revert tumor cells back to a differentiated state. Its mechanism of action is unclear, but it has actions on various cellular substances which control cell growth and differentiation. It has been shown to increase mannose-6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor II receptors, increase tissue growth factor beta receptors, increase Bak, decrease ras protein prenylation, decrease ubiquinone synthesis, and induce Phase I and Phase II detoxification systems. Preliminary human trials have not demonstrated tumor regression at a four times daily dosage schedule. In addition, significant side-effects, mainly gastrointestinal, have been experienced.

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