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Green tea and cancer chemoprevention.

Suganuma M; Okabe S; Sueoka N; Sueoka E; Matsuyama S; Imai K; Nakachi K; Fujiki H

Mutat Res 1999 Jul 16;428(1-2):339-44

Worldwide interest in green tea as a cancer preventive agent for humans has increased, because it is non-toxic and it is effective in a wide range of organs. (-)-Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the main constituent of green tea; the others are (-)-epicatechin gallate, (-)-epigallocatechin and (-)-epicatechin (EC). This paper reports the results of our latest pharmacological and biochemical studies with 3H-EGCG, along with studies on human subjects. The study on bioavailability of 3H-EGCG in mice revealed the wide distribution of marker in multiple organs. Specifically, radioactivity was found in all reported target organs of EGCG and green tea extract (digestive tract, liver, lung, pancreas, mammary gland and skin) as well as other organs (brain, kidney, uterus and ovary or testes) in mice. Recently, we demonstrated that EC enhanced incorporation of 3H-EGCG into human lung cancer cell line PC-9 cells. EC along with another cancer preventive agent sulindac also synergistically enhanced apoptosis in PC-9 cells induced by EGCG. Moreover, a case-control study on breast cancer patients revealed that high daily consumption of green tea was associated with a lower recurrence rate among Stages I and II patients. All the results suggest that consumption of green tea is a practical and effective cancer preventive both before cancer onset and after cancer treatment.

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