Health News: Beehive Extract Shows Potential as Prostate Cancer Treatment

An over-the-counter natural remedy derived from honeybee hives arrests the growth of prostate cancer cells and tumors in mice, according to a new paper from researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is a compound isolated from honeybee hive propolis, the resin used by bees to patch up holes in hives. Propolis has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for conditions ranging from sore throats and allergies to burns and cancer. But the compound has not gained acceptance in clinics due to scientific questions about its effect on cells.

In a paper published in Cancer Prevention Research, researchers combined traditional cancer research methods with cutting-edge proteomics to find that CAPE arrests early-stage prostate cancer by shutting down the tumor cells’ system for detecting nutrition.

CAPE was also effective at slowing the growth of human prostate tumors grafted into mice. Six weeks of treatment with the compound decreased tumor volume growth by half, but when CAPE treatment was stopped, tumor growth resumed its prior rate. The results suggest that CAPE stops cell division rather than killing cancerous cells.