The anticancer mechanism of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE): review of melanomas, lung and prostate cancers

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Dec;16(15):2064-8.


Background: Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), an active component of propolis extract, specifically inhibits NF-κB. It exhibits antioxidant, antiinflammatory, antiproliferative, cytostatic, and most importantly, antineoplastic properties.

Aim: The aim of the present mini-review is to summarize and evaluate the anticancer mechanism of CAPE with examples of several cancer types.

Results: In view of the mechanisms and findings in our laboratory and those of others in literature, we suggest that CAPE possess anticancer and apoptosis inducing activities.

Conclusions: Further researches are needed regarding the anticancer basis of CAPE in all disciplines of medicine. Also, clinical potential toxicities of CAPE should be revealed if it is going to be used as an anticancer agent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Caffeic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Caffeic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / therapeutic use
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Caffeic Acids
  • caffeic acid phenethyl ester
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol