Propolis is known for a long time for its health benefits and biological activities. Here, the red variety from the northeast of Brazil was chemically analyzed and extracts were investigated regarding their antioxidant and antitumor activity.
Hydroalcoholic extracts, obtained from the red propolis, revealed polyphenol content, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl scavenging potential and enzymatic activities for catalase-like and superoxide dismutase-like. Cytotoxic activity was evaluated for human laryngeal epidermoid carcinoma cell (Hep-2), human cervical adenocarcinoma (HeLa) and human normal epithelial embryonic kidney (Hek-293). Survival analysis for non-tumor cell line showed greater IC50 compared to tumor cell lines, suggesting an increased sensitivity that may correlate with the higher proliferative index of the tumor vs. normal cells.
Our results indicate that the Brazilian red propolis is capable of inhibiting cancer cell growth and constitutes an excellent source of antioxidant and antitumor natural agent.