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Propolis and breast cancer research



It is certainly not new, Propolis was used ages ago by Greeks, Egyptians and others to treat different diseases and affections. Nowadays propolis continues to be a well known product in herbal supplements shops and part of many herbal remedies against different affections, including cancer.

In a clinical study presented today, Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE), a substance derived from propolis found in honeybee products, has been found able to inhibit growth of breast cancer stem cells. Image left: See credits under ref. [7] below.



Propolis is collected by bees from tree buds and bark and later on used to cover the hives honeycomb, protecting it this way from viruses and bacteria. 

Propolis contains bioflavonoids known to have many beneficial properties, being some of these ones antibiotic, anti-bacterial [2]...etc. However the amount of CAPE and artepillin C, another anti-cancer agent found in propolis, is not very high. Among different honey sources studied it was discovered that a new Zealand product, Bio 30, was the highest one in content of propolis among the samples analysed.

In another clinical study, CAPE was able to suppress cataract formation in rats [3], showing how this chemical can protect our systems from other affections.

Its cancer prevention properties have for long being part of literature [4], which later on was supported by scientific evidence from several clinical trials in which the use of its derivative CAPE, was proven to be effective as an anti-cancer agent [5].



Another natural product that exerted certain anti-cancer properties was Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a spice made from the roots of Curcuma longa used in many parts of the globe that has already been known to have beneficial properties on the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. In a recent study Curcumin was able to decrease survival of Hep3B liver and MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this website is not intended to prescribe or give in any way or form medical advice, recommend or diagnose. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page for more info.



[1] Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE) derived from propolis, a honeybee product, inhibits growth of breast cancer stem cells. Omene CO, Wu J, Frenkel K. Department of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, BCD, Rm 556, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
[2] Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future By David Wolfe
[3] Botanical medicine in clinical practice By Victor R. Preedy
[4] Invasive Plant Medicine: The Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives By Timothy Lee Scott, Stephen Harrod Buhner
[5] CAPE (caffeic acid phenethyl ester)-based propolis extract (Bio 30) suppresses the growth of human neurofibromatosis (NF) tumor xenografts in mice. Demestre M, Messerli SM, Celli N, Shahhossini M, Kluwe L, Mautner V, Maruta H. UKE (Universitaets Klinikum Eppendorf), Hamburg 20246, Germany.
[6] Curcumin decreases survival of Hep3B liver and MCF-7 breast cancer cells: the role of HIF. Ströfer M, Jelkmann W, Depping R. Department of Physiology, Center for Structural and Cell Biology in Medicine, University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.
[2] Pixabay image under Public Domain License CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).