Citrus Monoterpenes: Potential Source of Phytochemicals for Cancer Prevention Conference Paper uri icon


  • Dietary monoterpenes are non-nutritive volatile principles found in citrus and other regularly consumed plant constituents. Monoterpenes are gaining significant importance as major ingredients of functional food and constituents of prophylactic formulations due to their ability to stabilize the symptoms of chronic diseases including cancer. Among the monoterpenes in citrus, D-limonene is the most common bioactive compound ranging from 30-96% of total volatile oil. The citrus monoterpenes have shown inhibition of human cancer cells proliferation and tumors growth through various mechanisms such as, induction of detoxifying phase-II enzymes, altering the genes responsible for activation apoptosis, inhibition of growth proteins, cell cycle arrest and inhibition of hormonal activities. The advantage of D-limonene is that the metabolites are also found to be effective inhibitors of cancer cells. The major active metabolites of D-limonene, perillyl alcohol, perillic acid and limonene 1, 2-diol are known for the inhibition of human colon, breast and prostate cancer cells. Our research has demonstrated that volatile oil isolated from Citrus aurantifolia and C. senesis (rich in D-limonene and D-dihydrocarvone) is capable of inhibiting proliferation of human colon cancer cells by inducing apoptosis and inhibition of angiogenesis, a potential target for cancer chemoprevention. In this chapter, health attributes of dietary monoterpenes and their role in chemoprevention of cancer is discussed with emphasis on citrus monoterpene D-limonene. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Murthy, K., Jayaprakasha, G. K., Mantur, S. M., & Patil, B. S.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Larmo, Petra S||Yang, Baoru||Järvinen, Riikka L||Setälä, Niko L||Viitanen, Matti H||Kallio, Heikki P

publication date

  • January 2012