Docetaxel (DTX) is used against breast cancer despite its side effects such as toxicity and immunosuppression. Here we investigated the cytotoxic and immunomodulatory effects of the ethanol solution extract of propolis (EEP) in combination with DTX on MCF-7 breast cancer cells and on women’s monocyte. The cytotoxic potential of EEP + DTX was assessed by MTT assay and the type of tumor cell death was evaluated by flow cytometry. The effects of EEP + DTX on the migration and invasion of MCF-7 cells were analyzed. Cytokine production by monocytes was assessed by ELISA and the expression of cell surface markers was evaluated by flow cytometry. We also assessed the fungicidal activity of monocytes against Candida albicans and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Finally, the impact of the supernatants of treated monocytes in the viability, migration, and invasiveness of tumor cells was assessed. EEP enhanced the cytotoxicity of DTX alone against MCF-7 cells by inducing necrosis and inhibiting their migratory ability. EEP + DTX exerted no cytotoxic effects on monocytes and stimulated HLA-DR expression, TNF-α, and IL-6 production, exerted an immunorestorative action in the fungicidal activity, and reduced the oxidative stress. Our findings have practical implications and reveal new insights for complementary medicine.
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.