The impact of olive oil compounds on the metabolic reprogramming of cutaneous melanoma cell models

Cheila Brito, Ana Tomás, Sandra Silva, Maria Rosário Bronze, Ana Teresa Serra, Marta Pojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cutaneous melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, characterized by a high molecular and metabolic heterogeneity which contributes to therapy resistance. Despite advances in treatment, more efficient therapies are needed. Olive oil compounds have been described as having anti-cancer properties. Here, we clarified the cytotoxic potential of oleic acid, homovanillyl alcohol, and hydroxytyrosol on melanoma cells. Metabolic viability was determined 48 h post treatment of A375 and MNT1 cells. Metabolic gene expression was assessed by qRT-PCR and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) activation by Western blot. Hydroxytyrosol treatment (100 and 200 µM) significantly reduced A375 cell viability (p = 0.0249; p < 0.0001) which, based on the expression analysis performed, is more compatible with a predominant glycolytic profile and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation. By contrast, hydroxytyrosol had no effect on MNT1 cell viability, which demonstrates an enhanced oxidative metabolism and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation. This compound triggered cell detoxification and the use of alternative energy sources in A375 cells, inhibiting JNK and ERK pathways. Despite oleic acid and homovanillyl alcohol demonstrating no effect on melanoma cell viability, they influenced the MNT1 glycolytic rate and A375 detoxification mechanisms, respectively. Both compounds suppressed ERK activation in MNT1 cells. The distinct cell responses to olive oil compounds depend on the metabolic and molecular mechanisms preferentially activated. Hydroxytyrosol may have a cytotoxic potential in melanoma cells with predominant glycolytic metabolism and JNK activation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number289
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Cell metabolism
  • Cutaneous melanoma
  • Homovanillyl alcohol
  • Hydroxytyrosol
  • Molecular mechanisms
  • Oleic acid


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