Scientists from Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, a research centre based in Perth, Western Australia, have come up with astonishing findings, where in honeybees could provide more than just some honey.

According to, the molecular mechanisms and selectivity of the biomolecular components of honeybee (Apis mellifera) venom as anticancer agents remain largely unknown.

"The molecular determinants of the anticancer activity of bee venom remain poorly understood, particularly in breast cancer, the most common cancer in women worldwide."


The honeybee venom has an active component called "melittin" a positively charged, amphipathic 26-amino-acid peptide that causes cell death by forming transmembrane pores. It was reported that the component, killed resistant cancer cells. The component also had little to no harming effect on healthy cells.

According to the paper, "both honeybee venom and melittin have demonstrated antitumoral effects in melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, glioblastoma, leukemia, ovarian, cervical, and pancreatic cancers, with higher cytotoxic potency in cancer cells compared to nontransformed cells."

The honeybee venom was tested on different clinical subtypes of breast cancer and it only took nearly 60 minutes for the melittin compound to disrupt the integrity of cell membranes. The venom showed high anticancer selectivity, with a significantly higher strength than Triple Negative Breast Cancer (T.N.B.C.).

The anticancer effects of melittin were confirmed by blocking experiments in vitro. The T.N.B.C. cells were treated with honeybee venom or melittin.