Piperine: role in prevention and progression of cancer

  • Mariia Zadorozhna
  • Tiziana Tataranni
  • Domenica MangieriEmail author


Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. Several pharmacological protocols have been developed in order to block tumor progression often showing partial efficacy and severe counterproductive effects. It is now conceived that a healthy lifestyle coupled with the consumption of certain phytochemicals can play a protective role against tumor development and progression. According to this vision, it has been introduced the concept of “chemoprevention”. This term refers to natural agents with the capability to interfere with the tumorigenesis and metastasis, or at least, attenuate the cancer-related symptoms. Piperine (1-Piperoylpiperidine), a main extract of Piper longum and Piper nigrum, is an alkaloid with a long history of medicinal use. In fact, it exhibits a variety of biochemical and pharmaceutical properties, including chemopreventive activities without significant cytotoxic effects on normal cells, at least at doses < of 250 µg/ml. The aim of this review is to discuss the relevant molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the chemopreventive action of this natural alkaloid.


Piperine Chemoprevention Natural compounds Cancer therapy 



Protein kinase B


Chick chorioallantoic membrane


Cyclin-dependent kinases


C/EBP homologous protein


Cyclin-dependent inhibitors




Cancer stem cells


Desossiribonucleic acid


Drugs metabolizing enzymes




Extracellular matrix


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition


Endothelial nitric oxide synthase


Endoplasmic reticulum


Extracellular-regulated kinase 1/2


Focal adhesions


Glutathione peroxidase


Glutathione reductase


Glucose-regulated protein 78


Human umbilical vein endothelial cells


Epidermal growth factor receptor-2


Insulin-like growth factor


Inositol-requiring enzyme-1-a


Jun N-terminal kinase


Phosphatidylethanolamine conjugate 3II


Matrix metalloproteinases


Mammalian target of rapamycin


Mammalian target of rapamycin complexes


Mitogen-activated protein kinase


Nuclear factor-κB


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidases


Poly-ADP ribose polymerase




Phosphoinositide-3 kinase


Phospho-kinase C alpha




Reactive oxygen species


Signal transducer and activator of transcription-3


Trasformin growth factor-beta






Uridine diphosphate -glucose dehydrogenase


Uridine diphosphate-glucoronyl transferase


Vascular endothelial growth factor/receptors


VEGF receptors


Xanthine oxidase


Author contributions

D.M. wrote and supervised manuscript; M.Z. assisted manuscript preparation. TT. facilitated the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest. All authors have read and approved the manuscript.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical and Surgical SciencesUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly
  2. 2.Laboratory of Pre-Clinical and Translational ResearchIRCCS-CROB, Referral Cancer Center of BasilicataRionero in VultureItaly

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