Resveratrol and propolis extract: an insight into the morphological and molecular changes induced in DU145 cells

Oncol Res. 2006;15(9):409-21. doi: 10.3727/096504005776568255.


In the Western world cancer is the second leading cause of mortality, and prostate carcinoma represents in men the second most important type of cancer-causing death. We have already shown that resveratrol (200 microM) triggers in DU145, an androgen-resistant prostate cancer cell line, a necrotic-like cell death, while propolis ethanolic extract (100 microg/ml) causes an apoptotic-like cell demise. The present research is aimed to better elucidate the molecular mechanisms activated by the two micronutrients. Vinorelbine bitartrate, a drug widely used in prostate cancer therapy, was utilized as a reference drug, because it is known to induce apoptosis. The combined treatments between the micronutrients and vinorelbine have been studied to test a possible vinorelbine dose reduction, avoiding its side effects without altering its cytotoxic action. In this investigation SEM and TEM analyses were performed to examine the morphological modifications induced; our observations confirmed necrotic cell features after treatment with resveratrol, and apoptotic modifications after propolis. We also measured cell cycle progression to study a correlation with p21 and p53, two well-known cell cycle checkpoints. The levels of HSP27 and HSP70, two chaperones also exerting antioxidant/antiapoptotic functions, were been also analyzed. Our data indicate that the two micronutrients modulate cell cycle distribution, increasing p53 levels, without the induced HSPs being able to rescue DU145 from death. The results presented suggest chemotherapy based on resveratrol and propolis, alone or in combination with vinorelbine, as a potential useful tool for prostate cancer therapy; the increase in cell cycle control and the modulation of HSPs expression reinforce this suggestion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / toxicity*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Propolis / therapeutic use
  • Propolis / toxicity*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Stilbenes
  • Propolis
  • Resveratrol