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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 136-140
Research article

Perillyl Alcohol Inhibits Breast Cell Migration without Affecting Cell Adhesion

1UNLV Cancer Institute and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA
2Department of Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA

Received 4 June 2002; Accepted 20 July 2002

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The monoterpene d-limonene exhibits chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive potential in breast cancer patients. D-limonene and its related compounds, perillyl alcohol and perillyl aldehyde, were chosen as candidate drugs for application in a screen for nontoxic inhibitors of cell migration. Using the nontumorigenic human breast cell line MCF-10A, we delineated the toxicity as greatest for the perillyl aldehyde, intermediate for perillyl alcohol, and least for limonene. A noncytotoxic concentration of 0.5 mmol/L perillyl alcohol inhibited the migration, while the same concentration of limonene failed to do so. Adhesion of the MCF-10A cell line and the human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB 435 to fibronectin was unaffected by 1.5 mmol/L perillyl alcohol. 0.4 mmol/L perillyl alcohol inhibited the growth of MDA-MB 435 cells. All migration-inhibiting concentrations of perillyl alcohol for MDA-MB 435 cells proved to be toxic. These results suggest that subtoxic doses of perillyl alcohol may have prophylactic potential in the treatment of breast cancer.