Therapeutic effect of propolis and paclitaxel on hepatic phase I and II enzymes and marker enzymes in dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced breast cancer in female rats

Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2006 Jul;143(3):349-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2006.03.009. Epub 2006 Apr 6.


Propolis, a natural beehive product has been known for centuries for a variety of beneficial traditional medicinal properties. The present study was conducted to ascertain the antineoplastic potential of propolis along with paclitaxel against experimental mammary carcinogenesis. Female Sprague Dawley rats at 55 days of age were treated with dimethylbenz(a)anthracene to induce breast cancer. Paclitaxel at a dose of 33 mg/kg body mass intraperitoneally and propolis 50 mg/kg body weight orally was administered to the experimental animals, immediately after the carcinogen treatment and continued until the termination of the study. At the end of the treatment activities of phase I and II xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes and liver marker enzymes were measured. A significant increase in carcinogen activating enzymes, cytochrome P(450), cytochrome b(5) and NADPH cytochrome C reductase with concomitant decrease in phase II enzymes, glutathione transferase and UDP-glucuronyl transferase were observed in animals with mammary cancer. Furthermore there was a significant decrease in alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase with a sharp increase in alkaline phosphatase, acid phosphatase and 5' nucleotidase. Propolis treatment caused the activity of these enzymes return to almost normal control levels, indicating the protective effect of propolis against dimethyl benz(a) anthracene induced carcinogenesis. On the basis of the observed results propolis can be considered a promising chemotherapeutic agent and can be administered as an adjuvant with paclitaxel chemotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • 5'-Nucleotidase / blood
  • 5'-Nucleotidase / metabolism
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / toxicity
  • Acid Phosphatase / blood
  • Acid Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Cytochromes b5 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / enzymology*
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / metabolism
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Propolis / administration & dosage
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Transferases / blood
  • Transferases / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Propolis
  • Cytochromes b5
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase
  • Transferases
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • 5'-Nucleotidase
  • Paclitaxel