Bee Venom Shows Anticancer & Antiviral Effects

Honeybee venom possesses anticancer and antiviral effects by differential inhibition of HPV E6 and E7 expression on cervical cancer cell line

Oncol Rep. 2015 Jan 28

Bee venom (BV) therapy is a type of alternative medical treatment used to treat various diseases in oriental medicine. The mechanisms underlying the effects of BV remain poorly understood.

In the present study, we evaluated the antiviral effect of BV on cervical carcinoma cell lines (CaSki, HeLa, C33A and TC-1). BV treatments resulted in a more significant suppression of cell growth in HPV 16-infected cells (CaSki) and a lesser suppression in HPV 18-infected cells (HeLa). However, less suppression was observed in HPV-negative C33A cells. In 10 µg/ml BV-treated CaSki cells, the mRNA expression and protein levels of HPV16 E6 and E7 were significantly decreased by BV, while HPV18 E6 and E7 mRNA expression levels were not significantly altered by 10 µg/ml BV-treated HeLa cells.

The antitumor effects of BV were in accordance with in vitro data, in restricting tumor growth in vivo and were much more effective on the suppression of tumor growth. Furthermore, the mRNA and protein expression levels of HPV16 E6 and E7 were decreased by BV in TC-1 tumors.

These findings demonstrated the antiviral effects of BV in HPV-infected cervical cancer cells and the anticancer effects of BV in HPV16 E6/E7-expressed TC-1 tumors.

Collectively, BV plays a differential role in suppressing HPV16-infected cells (CaSki cells) and HPV18-infected cells (HeLa cells) by the downregulation of E6/E7 protein of HPV16/18.