10 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The goal of the present review is to give an overview of the most recent papers demonstrating the chemoprevention effects of terpenes. We were interested in showing the structural diversity of these compounds and elucidating overlapping mechanistic factors that may be responsible for chemoprevention by the terpenes in general in these effects. Recent Findings: The studies reviewed point to chemoprevention effects across the broad array of structural classes of the terpenes, from the very small-molecule monoterpenes (10 carbon atoms) to the tetraterpenes (40 carbon atoms). These compounds have chemopreventative effects in cancers of the colon, bladder, skin, and liver. Some studies demonstrated that natural product mixtures have more robust effects and that synergy between compounds can be found in these natural products. Summary: Terpenes are the most diverse class of compounds on earth. The complex biology of animals including the development of cancers has evolved with these compounds enabling numerous structurally diverse groups of the terpenes to have similar effects on the development and progression of cancers. Mechanistically, these actions tend to cluster into effects of reactive oxygen species and mediators of inflammation which are key players in carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Pharmacology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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