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d-Limonene: a bioactive food component from citrus and evidence for a potential role in breast cancer prevention and treatment

Jessica A. Miller, Patricia A. Thompson, Iman A. Hakim, H.-H. Sherry Chow, Cynthia A. Thomson
  • Jessica A. Miller
    Department of Nutritional Sciences, The University of Arizona, United States | jam1@email.arizona.edu
  • Patricia A. Thompson
    Arizona Cancer Center, The University of Arizona, United States
  • Iman A. Hakim
    Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, United States
  • H.-H. Sherry Chow
    Arizona Cancer Center, The University of Arizona, United States
  • Cynthia A. Thomson
    Department of Nutritional Sciences, The University of Arizona,

Abstract

Although limited, observations from cell culture, animal, and epidemiological studies support the presence of anti-cancer properties in citrus peel and the primary bioactive food constituent, d-limonene. Early evidence from animal models suggests that when ingested, d-limonene exhibits a wide spectrum of biologic activity including chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive effects. In some of these early models, an analog of d-limonene, perillyl alcohol, demonstrated a more potent effect than d-limonene itself. Yet, when perillyl alcohol advanced to clinical trials, several trials were ended early due to doselimiting toxicities. Alternatively, oral d-limonene administration in humans is well tolerated even at high doses supporting its investigation as a potential bioactive for cancer prevention. Though the exact mechanisms of action of d-limonene are unclear, immune modulation and antiproliferative effects are commonly reported. Here, we review the pre-clinical evidence for d-limonene’s anticancer mechanisms, bioavailability, and safety, as well as the evidence for anti-cancer effects in humans, focusing on studies relevant to its use in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

Keywords

d-Limonene - Breast cancer - Bioactive food component - Perillyl alcohol

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Submitted: 2011-11-29 18:44:48
Published: 2011-10-25 00:00:00
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Copyright (c) 2011 Jessica A. Miller, Patricia A. Thompson, Iman A. Hakim, H.-H. Sherry Chow, Cynthia A. Thomson

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