Oleuropein, a non-toxic secoiridoid derived from the olive tree, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-angiogenic agent. Here, we show it to be a potent anti-cancer compound, directly disrupting actin filaments in cells and in a cell-free assay. Oleuropein inhibited the proliferation and migration of advanced-grade tumor cell lines in a dose-responsive manner. In a novel tube-disruption assay, Oleuropein irreversibly rounded cancer cells, preventing their replication, motility, and invasiveness; these effects were reversible in normal cells. When administered orally to mice that developed spontaneous tumors, Oleuropein completely regressed tumors in 9-12 days. When tumors were resected prior to complete regression, they lacked cohesiveness and had a crumbly consistency. No viable cells could be recovered from these tumors. These observations elevate Oleuropein from a non-toxic antioxidant into a potent anti-tumor agent with direct effects against tumor cells. Our data may also explain the cancer-protective effects of the olive-rich Mediterranean diet. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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