Background: Use of natural agents is an upcoming area of research in cancer biology. Caffeic acid
phenethyl ester (CAPE) has received great attention because of its therapeutic potential in various conditions
including cancer. It is an active/abundant component of propolis, a honey bee hive product produced by bees using
their enzyme-rich digestive secretions on resinous mix, bee wax and pollen from plants. It is used to protect the
beehive against bacteria and other infections. Therefore a literature survey was done to understand the therapeutic
potential of this compound. Although a lot of work has been done on chemotherapeutic aspects of CAPE and many
reviews were available, yet its role as a radiomodulator was not clear.
Objective: The objective of the review was to collect data on role of Caffeic acid phenethyl ester as radioprotector
and /or sensitizer to evaluate its potential as modulator of radiation effects during cancer therapy.
Methods: For literature survey, Pubmed and Google search engines were used. Data were collected up to August
2017. PubMed advanced search builder showed 845 papers on CAPE. This search was further narrowed down to
synthesis, bioavailability, CAPE derivatives, radioprotective and radiosensitizing effects of CAPE.
Results: This review focused on the differential radiomodulatory effects of CAPE in normal and cancer cells.
Besides chemistry and bioavailability, it’s potential as a therapeutic agent against radiation induced damage was also
Conclusion: CAPE was found to act both as radioprotector and radiosensitizer. Depending on the tissue type it can
modulate the radiation response by following different mechanisms.