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J Cancer Prev. 2015 Mar;20(1):1-4. doi: 10.15430/JCP.2015.20.1.1.

Primary cancer prevention by green tea, and tertiary cancer prevention by the combination of green tea catechins and anticancer compounds.

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Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Saga University, Saga.
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University, Saitama, Japan.


Green tea is a daily beverage, a non-oxidized non-fermented product containing at least four green tea catechins. Considering our first results when repeated applications of (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) prevented tumor promotion in mouse skin, we have continued to look at green tea as a possible cancer preventive agent. 1) The 10-year prospective cohort study by Drs. K. Nakachi and K. Imai revealed that drinking 10 Japanese-size cups (120 mL/cup) of green tea per day delayed cancer onset in humans by 7.3 years among females and by 3.2 years among males. The delay of cancer onset is of course significant evidence of primary cancer prevention in humans. 2) In collaboration with Dr. H. Moriwaki's group we successfully presented a prototype of tertiary cancer prevention showing that 10 Japanese-size cups of green tea daily, supplemented with tablets of green tea extract (G.T.E), reduced recurrence of colorectal adenomas in polypectomy patients by 51.6% (from 31% to 15%). 3) In 1999, we first reported that the combination of green tea catechins and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs showed synergistic anticancer effects in both in vitro and in vivo experiments, along with elucidation of the mechanism. 4) Further studies by other investigators have revealed that various combinations of EGCG or green tea extract and anticancer compounds inhibit tumor volume in xenograft mouse models implanted with various human cancer cell lines. Green tea is a cancer preventive, and green tea catechins act as synergists with anticancer compounds.


Cancer onset; EGCG; GADD153; Recurrence of colon polyps

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