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Cytotechnology. 2009 Apr;59(3):211-7. doi: 10.1007/s10616-009-9223-y. Epub 2009 Sep 17.

Effects of theanine on growth of human lung cancer and leukemia cells as well as migration and invasion of human lung cancer cells.

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Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Yantai University, No. 30, Qing Quan Lu, Lai Shan Qu, 264005, Yantai, Shandong, China.


The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of theanine, a tea characteristic amino acid, on human lung cancer and leukemia cells. In the present study, we have demonstrated that theanine suppressed the in vitro and ex vivo growth of human non-small cell lung cancer A549 and leukemia K562 cell lines in dose- and time-dependant manners. In addition, theanine displayed the inhibitory effect on the migration of A549 cells. More importantly, theanine enhanced the anticancer activity of anticancer agents such as trichostatin A (the histone deacetylase inhibitor), berbamine and norcantharidin (the anticancer drugs in China) by strongly reducing the viability and/or migration rate in A549 cells. In addition, theanine significantly suppressed A549 cell invasion. Suppression of A549 cell migration may be one of the important mechanisms of action of theanine against the A549 cell invasion. Our present results suggest that theanine may have the wide therapeutic and/or adjuvant therapeutic application in the treatment of human lung cancer and leukemia.

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