Ursolic acid: An overview on its cytotoxic activities against breast and colorectal cancer cells

Eric Wei Chiang Chan, Chu Yong Soon, Joash Ban Lee Tan, Siu Kuin Wong, Yew Woh Hui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Ursolic acid (UA) is a pentacyclic triterpene of the ursane type. As a common chemical constituent among species of the family Lamiaceae, UA possesses a broad spectrum of pharmacological properties. This overview focuses on the anticancer properties of UA against breast cancer (BC) and colorectal cancer (CRC) that are most common among women and men, respectively. In vitro studies have shown that UA inhibited the growth of BC and CRC cell lines through various molecular targets and signaling pathways. There are several in vivo studies on the cytotoxic activity of UA against BC and CRC. UA also inhibits the growth of other types of cancer. Studies on structural modifications of UA have shown that the –OH groups at C3 and at C28 are critical factors influencing the cytotoxic activity of UA and its derivatives. Some needs for future research are suggested. Sources of information were from ScienceDirect, Google Scholar and PubMed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Integrative Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Cytotoxic
  • Molecular targets
  • Signaling pathways
  • Ursolic acid

Cite this