Chemopreventive Potential of Caryophyllane Sesquiterpenes: An Overview of Preliminary Evidence
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “V. Erspamer”, Sapienza University of Rome, P. le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, P. le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
Department of Biochemical Science “A. Rossi Fanelli”, Sapienza University of Rome, P. le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 September 2020 / Revised: 29 September 2020 / Accepted: 15 October 2020 / Published: 18 October 2020
Caryophyllane sesquiterpenes are unique natural compounds widely occurring in nature, especially in plant essential oils, that are characterized by multiple properties of pharmacological interest. Although β-caryophyllene is the most investigated compound, its metabolite β-caryophyllene oxide and the analogues α-humulene and isocaryophyllene have been evaluated, too. Previous studies showed a polypharmacological profile of these compounds and a possible interest in cancer research; however, emerging evidence have highlighted a complex pool of healing properties, including a block of carcinogen-mediated DNA damage and cytoprotection against anticancer drug toxicity in noncancerous cells, along with antiproliferative and chemosensitizing activitives in cancer cells, thus suggesting their promising role as chemopreventive agents. In line with this evidence, the present review provides the pharmacological basis to support a further therapeutic interest for caryophyllane sesquiterpenes as chemopreventive agents. Moreover, possible structure–activity relationships and future research directions have been highlighted.