Grasas y Aceites, Vol 55, No 1 (2004)

Olive oil and cancer

Sergio López, Yolanda M. Pacheco, Beatriz Bermúdez, Rocío Abia, Francisco J.G. Muriana



In the last years, numerous studies have examined the association of dietary fat and cancer. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) from n -6 family display a strong promoting effect, this may be partially due to the especially prone to lipid peroxidation of PUFA that leads to formation of aldehydes, which react with DNA bases, forming genotoxic exocyclic etheno(epsilon)-adducts. On the contrary, there are growing evidences that monounsaturated oils, like olive oil, may be associated with a decreased risk of some cancers. However, the epidemiological data do not fully agree with the experimental ones previously published. Minor compounds from (extra virgin) olive oil, mainly phenolics like hydroxytyrosol and tocopherol, are antioxidants and radical scavenging. They can minimize the amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by fatty acid peroxidation and in the case of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) the DNA damage can be reduced by a lower lipid peroxidation.


Olive oil; Monounsaturated fatty acids; Minor compounds; Antioxidants; Phenolics; Mediterranean diet

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Copyright (c) 2004 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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