A group of researchers from the University of Granada and the University of Barcelona have discovered that maslinic acid, present in the leaf and wax of the skin of the olive, inhibits the growth of HT29 cells of colon cancer. This discovery could represent a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of this carcinoma.

Maslinic acid is a natural element capable of inducing the apoptosis or death program of said cells through the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. For this reason, scientists point to a new natural therapy for the treatment of colon carcinoma.

The molecular mechanisms of the antitumor and pro-apoptotic effects of maslinic acid against colon cancer have been studied. Chemopreventive agents of natural origin that are often part of our daily diet can become an effective and inexpensive way to control diseases such as cancer. In recent years there have been many investigations that have proven that triterpenes make carcinogenesis difficult by intervening in the processes of carcinogenic activation, DNA repair, arrest of the cell cycle, cell differentiation and induction of apoptosis of cancer cells.

Small concentrations of maslinic acid are found in some plants that are used in traditional medicine and are known for their antitumor properties, but the concentration in the wax of the skin of the olive is 80%.

Therefore, raw pomaces or second centrifugation oils and other byproducts of olive oil production are rich in these compounds, which could open doors to an important revaluation of the same and should be bet on new research. The analytical control of the content of these maslinic, ursolic and oleanolic acids in olive oils, their by-products and other vegetable oils, are of great interest to evaluate their medicinal properties and try, in the future, to preserve their contents even at the stage of refinement.

In this line of research, the Laboratory J.A. Tello, belonging to Group Tentamus, has developed a new method based on advanced chromatography techniques, mass spectrometry for determining the content of triterpenic hydroxy pentacyclic acids, specifically maslinic, ursolic and oleanolic acid in olive oils, its by-products and other vegetable oils.