Olive oil, the major source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids in the Mediterranean basin, appears to be protective against various human diseases including cancer. Recent studies have reported that major and minor components of olive oil can significantly counteract carcinogenesis in mutant cells by activating specific metabolic pathways involved in the apoptosis. Apoptosis is a cell suicide programme essential for developing and maintaining adult tissue homeostasis. Apoptosis eliminates redundant cells during embryonic development, exhausted cells during ageing, and damaged or mutated cells in pathological conditions. The induction of apoptosis in tumour cells and key molecules involved therein are important targets for setting up successful chemotherapeutic strategies. This review reports recent studies concerning metabolic pathways involved in the apoptotic-mediated cell death of cancer cells exerted by different olive oil compounds.
Keywords: Olive oil, apoptosis, phenols, oleic acids, iriterpenes, phytosterols, cancer, tumour cells, human cancers, pathogenesis, skin carcinogenesis, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, Hydroxytyrosol (3,4 DHPEA-EDA), HL60 (human promyelocytic leukemia cells), caspases, poly-ADP-ribose polym-erase, cytochrome, cytosolic proteins, Apaf 1, apoptosome, necrotic cells, Caiazzana and Ravece, colorectal can-cer cell lines, ATM-p53, pinoresinol, oleocanthal, Bcl-2 family, Bax, trol of the G2/M checkpoint, p53 is directly controlled by the ATM-ATR genes, Her-2/neu, Her2/neu on-cogene, cellular proliferation, transformation, differentiation, mo-tility, metastasis, p185 Her-2/neu oncoprotein, BT-474, SK-Br3 cells, trastuzumab (Her-ceptinTM), Akt, PI-3 kinase/Akt pathway, erythrodiol, pentacyclic triterpenic acids, Olea Euopaea, HT-29 cells, reactive oxygen species, Confocal micros-copy analysis, squalene, cholesterol biosynthesis, Ras farnesylation, MAPK pathway, Bcl-2 pathways