(pp.103–109) R. Alhaj and A. Purohit ‘The Impact of Honey on Breast Cancer Cells’, IJFNPH, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2017

International Journal of Food, Nutrition and Public Health (IJFNPH)Rasha Alhaj*
St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College, UK
E-mail: rasha.alhaj@qmul.ac.uk
Alan Purohit
Queen Mary University of London, UK
E-mail: a.purohit@imperial.ac.uk

Purpose: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Although breast cancers are generally oestrogen receptor positive initially, a substantial proportion becomes oestrogen receptor negative. Oestrogen receptor positive breast cancers are associated with a better prognosis than oestrogen receptor-negative breast cancers as they are more responsive to hormonal therapy. The aim of the present study was to assess the inhibitory effect of honey on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines.
Methodology: Three different varieties of Sudanese honey collected from different parts of Sudan (south, west and east) were initially tested for their effects on the proliferation of MCF-7 and MDAMB-231 breast cancer cells. When tested at a 20 times dilution in growth medium, all three varieties of honey produced 40%–85% inhibition of growth of these cells. One particular variety of honey (west) significantly inhibited the growth of MCF-7 cells and MDA-MB-231 by 80% ±5 and 50% ±5 respectively. This honey was further characterised. Twenty times diluted honey was treated as follows:
1. Charcoal to adsorb small molecular weight substances;
2. Ether extracted to remove ether-soluble substances;
3. One hour at 65ºC to assess temperature-stability of the test substances.
Findings: In conclusion, a large molecular weight soluble component of honey was found to have significant
growth inhibitory effects on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines. Further analysis is in progress to identify and characterise the substance.
Originality/value: The identification of endogenous inhibitors of breast cancer cells is important. The substance present in honey may possibly have a role to play in the prevention of breast cancer development and progression.
Keywords: oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancers; oestrogen receptor negative breast cancers; honey
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: R. Alhaj and A. Purohit (2017) ‘The Impact of Honey on Breast Cancer Cells’, Int. J. Food, Nutrition and Public Health, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 103–109.

IJFNPH V9 N2 2017 Alhaj Purohit 1
IJFNPH V9 N2 2017 Alhaj Purohit 1
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