Preferential cytotoxicity on tumor cells by caffeic acid phenethyl ester isolated from propolis


The honeybee hive product, propolis, is a folk medicine employed for treating various ailments. Many important pharmaceutical properties have been ascribed to propolis, including anti-inflammatory, antiviral, immunostimulatory and carcinostatic activities. Propolis extracts have provided an active component identified as caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), which was readily prepared in one step. Differential cytotoxicity has been observed in normal rat/human versus transformed rat/human melanoma and breast carcinoma cell lines in the presence of CAPE.

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Grunberger, D., Banerjee, R., Eisinger, K. et al. Preferential cytotoxicity on tumor cells by caffeic acid phenethyl ester isolated from propolis. Experientia 44, 230–232 (1988).

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Key words

  • Honebee hive
  • propolis
  • caffeic acid ester
  • cytoxicity