How Green Tea Could Prevent Pancreatic Cancer
It may be difficult to believe that something as simple as green tea could prevent pancreatic cancer. However, new research findings show how compounds in green tea have a significant impact on pancreatic cancer cells.
Experts have been exploring the relationship between green tea—most notably its active biologic factors known as catechins—and cancer for decades. One area of intense interest has been how green tea is able to impact cancer cells.
At Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed), a scientific team has found that EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a potent antioxidant and the most commonly found catechin in green tea, can alter the metabolism of pancreatic cancer by interfering with the expression of LDHA (lactate dehydrogenase A). LDHA is an enzyme that is found mainly in muscle tissue, and it also is associated with cancer.
The scientists went on to report that oxamate, an enzyme inhibitor that also can reduce the activity of LDHA, works in a similar way. According to the study’s lead researcher, Wai-Nang Lee, MD, their findings regarding green tea “will open the door to a whole new area of cancer research and help us understand how other foods can prevent cancer or slow the growth of cancerous cells.”
There is no shortage of studies that have examined the role of green tea and other foods in the fight against cancer. Some of the research has explored the role of various berries and other fruits, broccoli and its cruciferous cousins, various teas, and oily fish, among others. One prevailing theme in most of these studies is that potent phytonutrients such as catechins, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and others have cancer-fighting qualities, even though the exact mechanisms have not been well understood.
This new discovery is a breakthrough in understanding the metabolism of cancer cells, and not just pancreatic cancer cells but other forms of the disease as well. It also may lead to new ways to use foods to fight cancer.
Lu Q-Y et al. Metabolic consequences of LDHA inhibition by epigallocatechin gallate and oxamate in MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells. Metabolomics 2014; DOI:10.1007/s11306-014-0672-8