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Journal of Amino Acids
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 939804, 7 pages
Review Article

Potential Anticarcinogenic Peptides from Bovine Milk

1Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche e Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Italy
2Dipartimento di Chimica Farmaceutica e Tossicologica, Università di Napoli “Federico II,” Via D. Montesano 49, 80131 Napoli, Italy
3Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biofisica, Seconda Università di Napoli, Via L. De Crecchio 7, 80138 Napoli, Italy

Received 21 December 2012; Accepted 28 January 2013

Academic Editor: Michele Caraglia

Copyright © 2013 Giacomo Pepe et al. 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.


Bovine milk possesses a protein system constituted by two major families of proteins: caseins (insoluble) and whey proteins (soluble). Caseins (αS1, αS2, β, and κ) are the predominant phosphoproteins in the milk of ruminants, accounting for about 80% of total protein, while the whey proteins, representing approximately 20% of milk protein fraction, include β-lactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin, immunoglobulins, bovine serum albumin, bovine lactoferrin, and lactoperoxidase, together with other minor components. Different bioactivities have been associated with these proteins. In many cases, caseins and whey proteins act as precursors of bioactive peptides that are released, in the body, by enzymatic proteolysis during gastrointestinal digestion or during food processing. The biologically active peptides are of particular interest in food science and nutrition because they have been shown to play physiological roles, including opioid-like features, as well as immunomodulant, antihypertensive, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antioxidant activities. In recent years, research has focused its attention on the ability of these molecules to provide a prevention against the development of cancer. This paper presents an overview of antitumor activity of caseins and whey proteins and derived peptides.