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Press Release

Honey-bee Products in Cancer Treatment and Prevention

December 5, 2004

Natural honey-bee products such as propolis, royal jelly,
caffeic acid, honey and venom may have applications in cancer
treatment and prevention, say Croatian researchers in Journal
of the Science of Food and Agriculture this month.

Nada Orsolic and colleagues from the University of Zagreb
found that bee products significantly decreased tumour growth
and / or spreading (metastasis) in mice when they were
applied orally or by injection.

The researchers tested both the preventative and curative
effects of the bee products on tumour models in mice. In the
prevention studies, the products were administered before
inoculation with the tumour cells. In the curative studies,
the products were administered after tumour inoculation.

"The effects of the tested compounds were demonstrated either
by inhibition of tumour growth or metastases (secondary
tumour) formation and by increased survival of the animals,"
said Dr Orsolic.

Propolis or caffeic acid significantly reduced subcutaneous
tumour growth and prolonged the survival of mice. Honey also
inhibited the spread of the tumour when applied before tumour
cell inoculation in the lungs. Simultaneous inoculation with
royal jelly and tumour cells significantly inhibited tumour
spread. When bee venom was injected intratumourally, tumour
shrinkage occurred, and the delay of tumour growth was
evident. Survival of bee venom-treated mice was prolonged
compared to control mice.

The way in which the bee products work to combat the tumours
is not clear, but the authors suggest the chemicals cause
apoptosis (cell suicide) or necrosis of the cancerous cells,
or that they exert directly toxic or immunomodulatory
effects. They may also reduce harmful oxyradicals in cells or
body fluids.

The authors conclude that the intake of honey-bee products
could be advantageous in the prevention and treatment of

"These results suggest the benefits of potential clinical
trials using propolis or honey, combined with
chemotherapeutic agents," said Dr Orsolic.

A full copy of the paper is available:

Contact: SCI Press Office on T: +44 (0) 20 7598 1573/1 F: +44
(0) 20 7823 1698 or E:


About Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (JSFA)
publishes peer-reviewed original research and critical
reviews in these areas, with particular emphasis on
interdisciplinary studies at the agriculture/food interface.
This international journal covers fundamental and applied

JSFA is an SCI journal, published by John Wiley & Sons, on
behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry, and is available
in print (ISSN: 0022-5142) and online (ISSN: 1097-0010) via
Wiley InterScience http://www.interscience.wiley.comFor
further information about the journal go to

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