Background: Iranian propolis is a natural product of honeybees that has significant and varied anti-cancer benefits. The present study was designed to investigate the protective effects of Iranian propolis on gastric tissue carcinogenesis in an animal model.
Methods: Propolis samples were collected from Hamadan and Taleghan districts of Iran, followed by ultra performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry analysis. Fifty-five rats were divided into three groups; control, Taleghan propolis and Hamadan propolis. All the animals received N-methyl-N-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG, 100 μg/ml) in drinking water ad libitum for 34 weeks. In the treated groups, nutrition with propolis was started two weeks before MNNG administration. At the end of the study, the entire gastrointestinal tract was scrutinized for tumors, and the rest of the body was assessed for metastatic deposits.
Results: Results indicated that the incidence and number of tumors were significantly decreased by propolis in comparison with the control group (P < 0.05). The nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio, epithelial stratification, nuclear dispolarity, structural abnormality, and Beta-catenin and Bcl-2 proteins expression were significantly reduced in the propolis group compared to the control group (P < 0.05). In addition, Bax protein expression was significantly increased in the propolis group in comparison with the control group (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The present study demonstrated the potential chemoprotective effects of the Iranian propolis against gastric cancer in a typical animal model. The results provide evidence for the hypothesis that Iranian propolis may exert a chemoprotective effect on MNNG-initiated gastric cancer through inhibition of cell proliferation and apoptosis induction.