Tea Antioxidant Plus Celebrex May Fight Prostate Cancer

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A component of green tea, combined with low doses of the cox-2 inhibitor painkiller Celebrex, may be able to slow prostate cancer growth, according to a U.S. study.

Previous research found that, individually, both the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a known antioxidant, and cox-2 inhibitors helped fight prostate cancer in animals.

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In this study of cultured human prostate cancer cells and mice, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that a combination of EGCG and the cox-2 inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex) was 15 percent to 28 percent more effective in slowing the growth of cancer cells than either agent alone.

The study, which was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, was published March 1 in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

"Celecoxib and green tea have a synergistic effect -- each triggering cellular pathways that, combined, are more powerful than either agent alone. We hope that a clinical trial could lead to a preventative treatment as simple as tea time," Hasan Mukhtar, professor of dermatology and a member of the Paul Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a prepared statement.

"Prostate cancer typically arises from more than one defect in the cellular mechanics, which means that a single therapeutic might not work fighting a particular cancer long-term. If tests in human trials replicate (the results of this study), we could see a powerful combined therapy that is both simple to administer and relatively cost effective," Mukhtar said.

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