Preferential cytotoxicity to tumor cells of 3,5-diprenyl-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (artepillin C) isolated from propolis

Anticancer Res. Sep-Oct 1997;17(5A):3565-8.


A tumoricidal substance was isolated from Brazilian propolis as guided by cytotoxicity assay on HuH 13 (human hepatocellular carcinoma) cell and was characterized to be 3-[4-hydroxy-3,5-bis (3-methyl-2-butenyl) phenyl]-2-propenoic acid (3,5-diprenyl-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (artepillin C)). It exhibited preferential cytotoxicity to tumor cells cultured in vitro. The cytotoxicity observed seemed to be partly attributable to apoptosis-like DNA fragmentation. The compound showed anti-tumor activity more effective than that of 5-fluorouracil to transplantable human tumor cell lines when tested on histoculture drug response assay system.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Fluorouracil / toxicity
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Phenylpropionates / toxicity*
  • Propolis / analysis*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phenylpropionates
  • artepillin C
  • Propolis
  • Fluorouracil