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Prev Med. 1997 Nov-Dec;26(6):769-75.

Cancer-preventive effects of drinking green tea among a Japanese population.

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Department of Epidemiology, Saitama Cancer Center Research Institute, Japan.



Laboratory studies have revealed the cancer preventive effects of green tea, so the association between green tea consumption and cancer was examined in a human population.


The association between green tea consumption and cancer incidence was studied in our prospective cohort study of a Japanese population. We surveyed 8,552 individuals over 40 years of age living in a town in Saitama prefecture on their living habits, including daily consumption of green tea. During the 9 years of follow-up study (71,248.5 person-years), we identified a total of 384 cases of cancer in all sites.


We found a negative association between green tea consumption and cancer incidence, especially among females drinking more than 10 cups a day. The slowdown in increase of cancer incidence with age observed among females who consumed more than 10 cups a day is consistent with the finding that increased consumption of green tea is associated with later onset of cancer. Age-standardized average annual incidence rate was significantly lower among females who consumed large amounts of green tea. Relative risk (RR) of cancer incidence was also lower among both females (RR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.33-0.98) and males (RR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.39-1.21) in groups with the highest consumption, although the preventive effects did not achieve statistical significance among males, even when stratified by smoking and adjusted for alcohol and dietary variables.


Our epidemiological study showed that green tea has a potentially preventive effect against cancer among humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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