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Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Oct;76(4):865-72.

Dietary catechin delays tumor onset in a transgenic mouse model.

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Departments of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.



Evidence exists that red wine, which contains a large array of polyphenols, is protective against cardiovascular disease and possibly cancer.


We tested the hypothesis that catechin, the major monomeric polyphenol in red wine, can delay tumor onset in transgenic mice that spontaneously develop tumors.


Mice were fed a nutritionally complete amino acid-based diet supplemented with (+)-catechin (0-8 mmol/kg diet) or alcohol-free solids from red wine. Mice were examined daily; the age at which a first tumor appeared was recorded as the age at tumor onset. Plasma catechin and metabolite concentrations were quantified at the end of the study.


Dietary catechin significantly delayed tumor onset; a positive, linear relation was observed between the age at tumor onset and either the amount of dietary catechin (r(2) = 0.761, P < 0.001) or plasma catechin and metabolite concentrations (r(2) = 0.408, P = 0.003). No significant effects on tumor onset were observed when mice consumed a diet supplemented with wine solids containing <0.22 mmol catechin/kg diet, whereas a previous study showed that wine solids with a similar total polyphenol concentration but containing approximately 4 times more catechin significantly delayed tumor onset by approximately 30 d compared with a control diet. The catechin composition of the wines is directly related to processing conditions during vinification.


Physiologic intakes of specific dietary polyphenols, such as catechin, may play an important role in cancer chemoprevention. Wines have different polyphenol concentrations and compositions; therefore, the overall health benefits of individual wines differ.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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