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Toxicon. 2003 Jun;41(7):861-70.

Inhibition of mammary carcinoma cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in vivo by bee venom.

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Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Rooseveltov trg 6, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia.


The possible tumor growth- and metastasis-inhibiting effects of bee venom in mice and in tumor cell cultures were studied. The tumor was a transplantable mammary carcinoma (MCa) of CBA mouse. Intravenous administration of bee venom to mice significantly reduced the number of metastases in the lung. However, subcutaneous administration of bee venom did not reduce the number of lung metastases, indicating that the antitumor effect of the venom could be highly dependent on the route of injection as well as close contact between the components of the venom and the tumor cells, as was shown by in vitro studies on MCa cells. We also observed variations in immunological parameter induced by bee venom. We proposed that bee venom has an indirect mechanism of tumor growth inhibition and promotion of tumor rejection that is based on stimulation of the local cellular immune responses in lymph nodes. Apoptosis, necrosis, and lysis of tumor cells are other possible mechanisms by which bee venom inhibits tumor growth.

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