Immunomodulatory and antimetastatic action of propolis and related polyphenolic compounds

J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Oct;94(2-3):307-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.06.006.


The effect of polyphenolic compounds isolated from propolis and propolis itself was investigated on the growth and metastatic potential of a transplantable mammary carcinoma (MCa) of CBA mouse. Metastases in the lung were generated by intravenous injection of tumor cells (2 x 10(5)). A water-soluble derivative of proplis (WSDP), caffeic acid (CA), caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) and quercetin (QU) were given to mice per os before tumor cells inoculation. Tested compounds significantly decreased the number of tumor nodules in the lung. According to the results obtained the antitumor activity of tested compounds can be related to the immunomodulatory properties of the compounds, their cytotoxicity to tumor cells, and their capacity to induce apoptosis and necrosis. The experimental data support that WSDP, CA, CAPE and QU could be potentially useful in the control of tumor growth in experimental models.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / isolation & purification
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / drug effects
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Phenols / isolation & purification
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols
  • Propolis / isolation & purification
  • Propolis / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols
  • Propolis