Assessing the anti-tumour properties of Iraqi propolis in vitro and in vivo

Ghassan M. Sulaiman, Ali H. Ad'hiah, Khulood W. Al-Sammarrae, Renzo Bagnati, Roberta Frapolli, Ezia Bello, Sarah Uboldi, Michela Romano, Nicolò Panini, Eugenio Scanziani, Marzia Pezzolato, Eugenio Erba, Maurizio D'Incalci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study was designed to evaluate anti-tumour properties of Iraqi propolis collected from Mosul region (M) on HL-60 and HCT-116 cell lines and on HCT-116 in vivo. M induced an inhibitory effect against the proliferation of HL-60 and colony potential of HCT-116 cells. The apoptosis in HL-60 cells was associated with down-regulation of Bcl-2 and activation of Bax, while in HCT-116 cells, necrotic features were observed; size of cells was dramatically increased by swelling of cytoplasm and loss of membrane integrity, cell rupture and release of cellular contents. Analysis of BrdU/DNA cell cycle in both cell lines showed that M induced cell cycle perturbations in both BrdU positive and BrdU negative cells. The exposure of HL-60 to M caused γ-H2AX in a dose dependent manner and was associated with induction of apoptosis. The experiments in HCT-116 tumor-bearing mice showed that oral administration of propolis at doses that caused no detectable toxicity was associated with a decrease in mitotic cells and an increase in endoreduplications, increased p53 and decreased Ki-67 expression of cells in tumor sections. This study provides the rationale to investigate the potential beneficial effect of propolis in the diet of patients receiving anti-cancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1632-1641
Number of pages10
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • BrdU/DNA cell cycle
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Iraqi propolis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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