With a complex chemical composition rich in phenolic compounds, propolis (resinous substance collected by Apis mellifera from various tree buds) exhibits a broad spectrum of biological activities. Recently, in vitro and in vivo data suggest that propolis has anticancer properties, but is the cytoxicity of propolis specific for tumor cells? To answer this question, the cytotoxicity of phenolic extracts from Portuguese propolis of different origins was evaluated using human tumor cell lines (MCF7 - breast adenocarcinoma, NCI-H460 - non-small cell lung carcinoma, HCT15 - colon carcinoma, HeLa - cervical carcinoma, and HepG2 - hepatocellular carcinoma), and non-tumor primary cells (PLP2). The studied propolis presented high cytotoxic potential for human tumor cell lines, mostly for HCT15. Nevertheless, excluding HCT15 cell line, the extracts at the GI50 obtained for tumor cell lines showed, in general, cytotoxicity for normal cells (PLP2). Propolis phenolic extracts comprise phytochemicals that should be further studied for their bioactive properties against human colon carcinoma. In the other cases, the proximity of the in vitro cytotoxic doses for tumor and normal cell lines should be confirmed by in vivo tests and may highlight the need for selection of specific compounds within the propolis extract. © 2014 Ricardo C. Calhelha et al.
Calhelha, R. C., Falcão, S., Queiroz, M. J. R. P., Vilas-Boas, M., & Ferreira, I. C. F. R. (2014). Cytotoxicity of portuguese propolis: The proximity of the in vitro doses for tumor and normal cell lines. BioMed Research International, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/897361