The immunomodulatory effects of honey and associated flavonoids in cancer

Razan J. Masad, Shoja M. Haneefa, Yassir A. Mohamed, Ashraf Al-Sbiei, Ghada Bashir, Maria J. Fernandez-Cabezudo, Basel K. Al-Ramadi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Honey has exerted a high impact in the field of alternative medicine over many centuries. In addition to its wound healing, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties, several lines of evidence have highlighted the efficiency of honey and associated bioactive constituents as anti-tumor agents against a range of cancer types. Mechanistically, honey was shown to inhibit cancer cell growth through its pro-apoptotic, anti-proliferative and anti-metastatic effects. However, the potential of honey to regulate anti-tumor immune responses is relatively unexplored. A small number of in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the ability of honey to modulate the immune system by inducing immunostimulatory as well as anti-inflammatory effects. In the present review, we summarize the findings from different studies that aimed to investigate the immunomodulatory properties of honey and its flavonoid components in relation to cancer. While these studies provide promising data, additional research is needed to further elucidate the immunomodulatory properties of honey, and to enable its utilization as an adjuvant therapy in cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1269
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Cancer
  • Complemen-tary medicine
  • Flavonoids
  • Honey
  • Inflammation
  • Tumor immunomodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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