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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 928280, 10 pages
Research Article

Anticancer Activity of Indian Stingless Bee Propolis: An In Vitro Study

Centre for Nanobioscience, Agharkar Research Institute, G. G. Agarkar Road, Pune 411004, India

Received 11 January 2013; Revised 14 April 2013; Accepted 14 April 2013

Academic Editor: Wojciech Krol

Copyright © 2013 Milind K. Choudhari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Indian stingless bee propolis has a complex chemical nature and is reported to possess various medicinal properties. In the present study, anticancer activity of the ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP) was explored by testing the cytotoxic and apoptotic effect in four different cancer cell lines, namely, MCF-7 (human breast cancer), HT-29 (human colon adenocarcinoma), Caco-2 (human epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma), and B16F1 (murine melanoma), at different concentrations. Cytotoxicity was evaluated by MTT assay and Trypan blue dye exclusion assay. EEP at a concentration of 250  g/mL exhibited ≥50% mortality in all cell lines tested (i.e., IC50 value). EEP revealed a concentration and time dependent cytotoxic effect. Apoptosis was estimated by differential staining (ethidium bromide/acridine orange) and TUNEL (deoxynucleotidyl transferase-dUTP nick end labeling) assay. Light microscopy and atomic force microscopy demonstrated morphological features of apoptosis in all the cell lines after treatment with 250  g/mL EEP for 24 h. Thus, early onset of apoptosis is the reason for anticancer activity of Indian stingless bee propolis. Further, the antioxidant potential of Indian stingless bee propolis was demonstrated to substantiate its anticancer activity.