Modulation by hydroxytyrosol of oxidative stress and antitumor activities of paclitaxel in breast cancer



The main objective of this study was to test the therapeutic potential of hydroxytyrosol and its combination with paclitaxel in breast cancer on oxidative stress status.


Impact on proliferation rates of different chemotherapy administration patterns was assayed in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines. Breast tumor-bearing rats were randomly assigned to Control, Hydroxytyrosol, Paclitaxel and Paclitaxel plus hydroxytyrosol groups, for 6 weeks. Tumor volume, cell proliferation and several systemic oxidative stress parameters were measured. Anti-proliferative activity in vitro experiments was correlated with in vivo experiments.


Combination group did significantly reduce tumor volume when compared with paclitaxel alone. Additionally, the combination improved the antioxidant status without compromising the antitumor activity of standard chemotherapy.


These findings reveal for the first time that hydroxytyrosol is an active partner in combined therapies with paclitaxel against breast cancer. Combination with hydroxytyrosol would also ensure a less oxidative impact of chemotherapeutic drugs that could potentially improve patient wellness.

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This research was supported by Grants from Excelentísima Diputación de Jaén, CEAS Foundation 30.C0.244500 and Junta de Andalucía PI-0210/2007.

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Correspondence to MCarmen Ramirez-Tortosa.

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Manuscript submitted for publication has been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and have, therefore, been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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El-azem, N., Pulido-Moran, M., Ramirez-Tortosa, C.L. et al. Modulation by hydroxytyrosol of oxidative stress and antitumor activities of paclitaxel in breast cancer. Eur J Nutr 58, 1203–1211 (2019) doi:10.1007/s00394-018-1638-9

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  • Breast cancer
  • Hydroxytyrosol
  • Cell proliferation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Multimodal treatment and paclitaxel