The honeybee product propolis and its extracts are known to have biological effects such as antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities. This study was designed to investigate whether water-soluble propolis (WSP) inhibits tumor growth. The tumor cell line used was mouse sarcoma 180 (S-180), and its growth was determined in vitro and in vivo with exposure to different concentrations of WSP. The effects of WSP on tumor cells in vitro were evaluated by measuring the intracellular uptake of 3H-thymidine. 3H-thymidine uptake was inhibited in accordance with the concentration of WSP. The minimum concentration of WSP necessary for 3H-thymidine uptake inhibition was 1.0 μg/ml and uptake was suppressed to 88% of the level in non-treated cells at this concentration. In an experiment using tumor-bearing mice, oral administration of WSP was begun 24 hours after transplantation of S-180 cells. WSP was administered to the mice 5 times, every other day for 10 days. The doses were 320 mg/kg (10 mg/mouse) or 960 mg/kg (30 mg/mouse) of body weight. All mice were sacrificed 10 days after transplantation, and tumor growth was evaluated. The orally administered WSP significantly inhibited the growth of transplanted tumors (p < 0.05). Furthermore, histological findings revealed a significant reduction in mitotic cells and tumor invasion of the muscular tissue at both dose-levels of WSP.
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