Anticancer Properties of Carnosol: A Summary of In Vitro and In Vivo Evidence
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AbstractCancer is characterized by unrestricted cell proliferation, inhibition of apoptosis, enhanced invasion and migration, and deregulation of signalling cascades. These properties lead to uncontrolled growth, enhanced survival, and the formation of tumours. Carnosol, a naturally occurring phyto-polyphenol (diterpene) found in rosemary, has been studied for its extensive antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects. In cancer cells, carnosol has been demonstrated to inhibit cell proliferation and survival, reduce migration and invasion, and significantly enhance apoptosis. These anticancer effects of carnosol are mediated by the inhibition of several signalling molecules including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), Akt, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Additionally, carnosol prevents the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) and promotes apoptosis, as indicated by increased levels of cleaved caspase-3, -8, -9, increased levels of the pro-apoptotic marker Bcl-2-associated X (BAX), and reduced levels of the anti-apoptotic marker B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2). The current review summarizes the existing in vitro and in vivo evidence examining the anticancer effects of carnosol across various tissues.