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Jennifer R. Brown, MD, PhD


Can Olive Phenols Benefit Patients With CLL?

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Oleocanthal and oleacein have demonstrated antitumor properties in vitro and in vivo; however, according to Prokopios Magiatis, PhD, MSc, of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and colleagues, there are no data regarding the activity of these olive phenols in humans. The results of a pilot study, which were published in Frontiers in Oncology, suggested dietary intake of extra virgin olive oil that contains high levels in oleocanthal and oleacein may induce apoptosis and improve the metabolism of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

“The results of this pilot study should not be used as a proof of efficacy but as a proof that the study can and is worthy to be expanded to a multicenter larger trial,” the investigators commented.

During the first intervention, patients with early-stage CLL consumed 40 mL of extra virgin olive oil with high (n = 10) or low (n = 10) levels of oleocanthal and oleacein once daily for 3 months. A second intervention was performed after a washout period of 9 to 12 months; a total of 22 randomly selected patients (from the first intervention: n = 16; new: n = 6) consumed extra virgin olive oil that contained high levels of oleocanthal and oleacein for 6 months.

Beneficial effects on the expression levels of hematologic and apoptotic markers were observed after the first intervention in patients who consumed olive oil with these olive phenols. Compared with the 3 months before and 6 months after the second intervention, a statistically significant decrease in white blood cell and lymphocyte counts was observed during dietary intake. The expression levels of the apoptotic markers ccK18 and Apo1-Fas seemed to significantly increase in all patients after 3 and 6 months of the second intervention; a statistically significant decrease in the expression level of the antiapoptotic protein survivin was reported.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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