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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 280120, 11 pages
Research Article

Antitumor Activity of Chinese Propolis in Human Breast Cancer MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 Cells

1School of Life Science, Liaocheng University, Liaocheng 252059, China
2School of Life Science, Anhui University, Hefei 230039, China
3College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China

Received 10 February 2014; Revised 10 April 2014; Accepted 13 April 2014; Published 22 May 2014

Academic Editor: Thomas Efferth

Copyright © 2014 Hongzhuan Xuan 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.


Chinese propolis has been reported to possess various biological activities such as antitumor. In present study, anticancer activity of ethanol extract of Chinese propolis (EECP) at 25, 50, 100, and 200 μg/mL was explored by testing the cytotoxicity in MCF-7 (human breast cancer ER(+)) and MDA-MB-231 (human breast cancer ER(−)) cells. EECP revealed a dose- and time-dependent cytotoxic effect. Furthermore, annexin A7 (ANXA7), p53, nuclear factor-κB p65 (NF-κB p65), reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, and mitochondrial membrane potential were investigated. Our data indicated that treatment of EECP for 24 and 48 h induced both cells apoptosis obviously. Exposure to EECP significantly increased ANXA7 expression and ROS level, and NF-κB p65 level and mitochondrial membrane potential were depressed by EECP dramatically. The effects of EECP on p53 level were different in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, which indicated that EECP exerted its antitumor effects in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells by inducing apoptosis, regulating the levels of ANXA7, p53, and NF-κB p65, upregulating intracellular ROS, and decreasing mitochondrial membrane potential. Interestingly, EECP had little or small cytotoxicity on normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). These results suggest that EECP is a potential alternative agent on breast cancer treatment.