Antitumor Properties of Honeybee Plant-Derived Products: Honey, Propolis and Pollen
Pp. 347-387 (41)
Cristina Almeida-Aguiar, Ricardo Silva-Carvalho and Fátima Baltazar
The majority of cancers have no curable treatment and the main available
therapies have serious side effects, justifying the need for development of new
antitumor agents. Several efforts have been made to identify natural products useful in
the cancer setting. This area has emerged as an important research field, providing the
possibility to both identify novel potentially useful agents and to study the mechanisms
of antitumor action. Honeybee plant-derived products have shown anti-cancer activity
in a series of experimental and clinical studies with cell lines, animals and humans.
Honey, the viscous, golden and sweet liquid produced by bees from the nectar of
flowering plants has proven to display antiproliferative and apoptotic effects, along
with other activities that contribute for its antitumor properties. Propolis, a special
substance made by honeybees through mixing tree saps with salivary secretions, is used
to seal fissures and openings in the hive, strength combs, seal brood cells and protect
the hive from infections. Propolis contains phytonutrients that may be useful in
different pathological conditions, including cancer.
Bee pollen, the bees´ primary food source, is plant pollen collected from a variety of
plants and processed by honeybees. Demand for this natural product is rising since it
has effects on a variety of biological functions, which contribute to the fight and
prevention of cancer. This review focuses on the antitumor properties of honey,
propolis and bee pollen as well as on the potential use of these honeybee plant-derived
products to develop new therapeutic approaches for patients with different types of
Angiogenesis, Apoptosis, Autophagy, Bioactivities, Cancer,
Flavonoids, Honey, Honeybees, Immortality, Invasion, Metastasis, Natural
products, Oncogenes, Plants, Pollen, Polyphenols, Proliferation, Propolis,
Standardization, Tumor suppressors.
Biology Department, School of Sciences, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal.