Introduction: Recent studies have shown that honey has anticancer properties in tissue culture and in-vivo animal experiment against different types of cancers. Only a few studies suggested that honey might be useful in modulating experimental breast carcinoma in vivo.
Aim: To study the inhibitory effects of Malaysian Jungle Tualang honey (TH) on N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU)-induced rat mammary carcinogenesis.
Methods: Fifty female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 5 groups with 10 animals each (n = 10); Group 1 did not receive MNU and did not receive honey (negative control); Group 2 received MNU but not honey (positive control). Groups 3, 4 and 5 were fed orally with 0.2, 1.0 or 2.0 g/kg body weight of Tualang Honey daily respectively from day 0 of the experimentation. Cancer induction using MNU was done on the 7th day and development of mammary cancer masses was charted. All rats in all groups were given rat chowder ad lib. The rats in Groups 3, 4 and 5 continued to receive honey until the 120th day when they were sacrificed and subjected to autopsy. The tumors were harvested for gross and histopathological examinations.
Results: The total number of tumors developed in all groups was 105. The mean number of tumors developed per rat in Groups 2, 3, 4, 5 was 4.6 +/- 0.60, 1.9 +/- 0.40, 2.3 +/- 0.30, and 1.7 +/- 0.50, respectively. Honey was found to reduce the number of tumor masses, tumor incidence and tumor size; the mean size was <=2.5 cm3, smaller than control, <=8.5 cm3. The number of tumors developed in treatment groups was also significantly fewer (p < 0.05). Histopathological grading revealed that the majority of honey-treated group tumors were of grade 1 = (32/62) (51.61%) and 2 = (18/62)(29.03%).
Conclusion: Tualang honey has an inhibitory effect on breast carcinogenesis in rats when given one week prior to tumor induction.
(C) 2014 Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia