Antitumoral and Antioxidant Potential of Egyptian Propolis Against the PC3 Prostate Cancer Cell Line

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015;16(17):7641-51. doi: 10.7314/apjcp.2015.16.17.7641.


It has been shown previously that nutritional supplements rich in polyphenolic compounds play a significant role in prostate cancer chemoprevention. Propolis is a natural, resinous hive product that has several pharmacological activities including antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumoral activities. The aim of this study was to compare the cytotoxic, antioxidant and antitumoral activities of an ethanolic extract of Egyptian propolis (EEP) in vitro with an established chemotherapeutic drug such as doxorubicin (DOX), and the effects of their combination against the PC3 human prostate cancer cell line. Cellular viability and IC50 levels with EEP, DOX and their (v/v) combination were detected by sulphorhodamine-B (SRB) assay after incubation of PC3 cells for 72 h with different doses (0, 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10 and 100 μg/ml). Two selected doses of IC50 and IC25 were applied to cells for 24h for antitumor evaluation assay of treatment compounds. EEP and its (v/v) combination with DOX showed significant antitumor potential besides high antioxidant properties of superoxide dismutase (SOD), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), catalase (CAT), nitric oxide (NO) and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels when compared with the control untreated cells. DNA fragmentation assay and semi quantitative RT-PCR analyses for p53 and Bax genes showed that EEP activated cellular apoptosis and increased the mRNA expression levels more than other treatment. In conclusion, EEP alone or in combination with DOX at both doses used here showed greater antioxidant, antiproliferative and apoptotic effects against the PC3 cell lines as compared to treatment with DOX alone. Therefore, EEP could be considered as a promising candidate for prostate cancer chemotherapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chemoprevention / methods
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Propolis / pharmacology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Propolis
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione