Anti-Cancer, Anti-Angiogenic, and Anti-Atherogenic Potential of Key Phenolic Compounds from Virgin Olive Oil


Nutrients. 2024 Apr 25;16(9):1283. doi: 10.3390/nu16091283.


The Mediterranean diet, renowned for its health benefits, especially in reducing cardiovascular risks and protecting against diseases like diabetes and cancer, emphasizes virgin olive oil as a key contributor to these advantages. Despite being a minor fraction, the phenolic compounds in olive oil significantly contribute to its bioactive effects. This review examines the bioactive properties of hydroxytyrosol and related molecules, including naturally occurring compounds (-)-oleocanthal and (-)-oleacein, as well as semisynthetic derivatives like hydroxytyrosyl esters and alkyl ethers. (-)-Oleocanthal and (-)-oleacein show promising anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties, which are particularly underexplored in the case of (-)-oleacein. Additionally, hydroxytyrosyl esters exhibit similar effectiveness to hydroxytyrosol, while certain alkyl ethers surpass their precursor’s properties. Remarkably, the emerging research field of the effects of phenolic molecules related to virgin olive oil on cell autophagy presents significant opportunities for underscoring the anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties of these molecules. Furthermore, promising clinical data from studies on hydroxytyrosol, (-)-oleacein, and (-)-oleocanthal urge further investigation and support the initiation of clinical trials with semisynthetic hydroxytyrosol derivatives. This review provides valuable insights into the potential applications of olive oil-derived phenolics in preventing and managing diseases associated with cancer, angiogenesis, and atherosclerosis.

PMID:38732529 | DOI:10.3390/nu16091283