Review Article

Possible molecular targets for therapeutic applications of caffeic acid phenethyl ester in inflammation and cancer

Ghulam Murtaza a,*, Ashif Sajjad b, Zahid Mehmood b, Syed H. Shah c, Abdul R. Siddiqi d

a Department of Pharmacy, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad, Pakistan b Institute of Biochemistry, University of Balochistan, Quetta, Pakistan
c Department of Statistics, University of Balochistan, Quetta, Pakistan
d Department of Biosciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan


Of the various derivatives of caffeic acid, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is a hydrophobic, bioactive polyphenolic ester obtained from propolis extract. The objective in writing this review article was to summarize all published studies on therapeutics of CAPE in inflammation and cancer to extract direction for future research. The possible molecular targets for the action of CAPE, include various transcription factors such as nuclear factor-κB, tissue necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, cyclooxygenase-2, Nrf2, inducible nitric oxide synthase, nuclear factor of activated T cells, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, and signal transducers and activators of transcription. Based on the valuable data on its therapeutics in inflammation and cancer, clinical studies of CAPE should also be conducted to explore its toxicities, if any.

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