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Carcinogenesis. 1998 Jan;19(1):229-32.

Effect of black tea on azoxymethane-induced colon cancer.

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  • 1Naylor Dana Institute, American Health Foundation, Valhalla, New York 10595-1599, USA. John_Weisburger@NYMC.Edu


Two sets of experiments on the role of tea in azoxymethane (AOM) induced colon cancer were performed. The first test involved male F344 rats given 1.25% solutions of black tea beginning at 5 weeks of age and ending at 51 days of age. At 6 and 7 weeks of age, they received 15 mg/kg AOM and were held for 50 weeks. Another group received the AOM dosage at 6 and 7 weeks and were placed on the tea solutions 2 days after the last AOM dosage, at 51 days of age, and held for the 50-week period. The end point was the occurrence and multiplicity of colon cancer, classified as in situ, exophytic, invasive and Peyer's patch carcinomas. Tea failed to affect the incidence and multiplicity of colon cancers when given during or after the AOM administration, but tea after AOM increased the multiplicity of exophytic carcinomas. In a second series of tests, solutions of 0.6, 1.25, 1.75 or 2.5% tea were given, beginning 1 week prior to the two AOM doses and extending for 42 weeks. Also, one group received 1.25% tea and 1.85% whole milk. The incidence of exophytic or invasive colon cancer and tumor multiplicity were similar in all treatment groups, although the incidence of exophytic neoplasms was higher with 2.5% tea. Thus, chronic administration failed to significantly change the incidence and multiplicity of the AOM-induced colon cancers. These findings are accounted for by the underlying mechanism, namely the fact that tea solutions do not alter the amount of cytochrome P-4502E1 required for the metabolic activation of AOM.

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