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Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics
SJR: 0.309 SNIP: 0.041 CiteScore™: 0.18

ISSN Print: 2151-8017
ISSN Online: 2151-8025

Archives: Volume 1, 2010 to Volume 7, 2016

Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics

DOI: 10.1615/ForumImmunDisTher.2014008125
pages 275-315

Possible Molecular Targets of Bee Venom in the Treatment of Cancer: Application and Perspectives

Nada Orsolic
Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Rooseveltov trg 6, HR-10000, Croatia


The poor efficacy of anticancer drugs is often related to their toxicity as well as to their poor selectivity toward cancer tissue. Use of innovative drug delivery systems can optimize their therapeutic features, protecting the drug against metabolic inactivation, increasing its plasma half-life, and improving both the therapeutic index and the anticancer efficacy of the drug. Many natural products and their active components have recently regained attention as a source of new drug discovery. Honey bee (Apis mellifera) venom, also known as apitoxin, is a very complex mixture of active peptides, enzymes, and amines. Bee venom has been widely used in the treatment of some immune-related diseases, as well as in treatment of cancers in recent times. Components of bee venom, especially melittin, through hyperactivation of phospholipase A2, an influx of Ca2+, and inhibition of nuclear factor-κB and calmodulin could be crucial in the regulation of cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis/necrosis, the process of metastasis, and angiogenesis. In addition, stingins (apamin-derived peptide) represent a novel class of p53 activators and are superior in many aspects to the existing mini-protein antagonists of MDM2/MDMX. This article describes current understanding of the possible molecular targets of bee venom and melittin as a suitable model peptide for drug delivery into cells.

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