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Pamela l. Crowell of the biology department of Indian University is another leading researcher in the field of antitumor effects of mono-and sesquiterpene components. The following excerpt from one of her review papers is included to give the reader an idea how this research is communicated in its original form.

Monoterpenes are non-nutritive components found in the essential oils of citrus fruits and other plants. A number of these dietary monoterpenes have anti-tumor activity. For example, d-limonene, which comprises .90% of orange peel oil, has chemo-preventative activity against rodent mammary, skin, liver, lung and fore-stomach cancers.

Similarly, other dietary monoterpenes have chemo-preventative activity against rat mammary, lung and fore-stomach cancers when fed during the initiation phase. in addition, perillyl alcohol has promotion phase chemo-preventative activity against rat liver cancer, and geraniol has in vivo anti-tumor activity against murine leukemia cells.

Perillyl alcohol and d-limonene also have chemotherapeutic activity against rodent  mammary and pancreatic tumors. As a result, their cancer chemotherapeutic activities are under evaluation in Phase 1 clinical trials. Several mechanisms of action may account for the anti-tumor activities of monoterpenes.

The blocking chemo-preventative effects of limonene and other monoterpenes during initation phase of mammary carcinogenesis are likely due to the induction of Phase ll carcinogen-metabolizing, resulting in carcinogen detoxification.

pamela L crpwellThe post-initiation phase, tumor suppressive chemo-preventative activity of monoterpenes may be due to the induction of apoptosis or to inhibition of the post-translational isoprenylation oc cell growth-regulating proteins.

Chemotherapy of chemically induced mammary tumors  with monoterpenes  results in tumor re-differentation concomitant with increased expression of the mannose6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor ll receptor and transforming growth factor B1. Thus monoterpenes would appear to act thorough multiple mechanisms in the chemoprevention and chemotherapy of cancer.

In summary, a variety of dietary monoterpenes have been shown to be effective in the chemoprevention and chemotherapy of cancer. Now, monoterpene research is progressing into human clinical trials for chemotherapeutic activity.

Monoterpenes also possess many characteristics of ideal chemo-preventative agents, namely, efficacious anti-tumor activity, commercial availability, low cost, oral bioavailability and low toxicity, making it feasible to begin considering them for human cancer chemoprevention testing.


Reference: The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.

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