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

  • Jessica A. Miller | jam1@email.arizona.edu Department of Nutritional Sciences, The University of Arizona, United States.
  • 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.

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Published
2011-10-25
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Reviews
Keywords:
d-Limonene - Breast cancer - Bioactive food component - Perillyl alcohol
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How to Cite
Miller, J. A., Thompson, P. A., Hakim, I. A., Chow, H.-H. S., & Thomson, C. A. (2011). d-Limonene: a bioactive food component from citrus and evidence for a potential role in breast cancer prevention and treatment. Oncology Reviews, 5(1), 31-42. https://doi.org/10.4081/oncol.2011.31