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Latest News on Green Tea Extract for Breast Cancer Prevention

Tim Boyer's picture

Green tea contains a variety of catechins that have historically and culturally been associated with long life and good health. Catechins are a type of antioxidant that can be found in red wine, berries, chocolate and—in very high doses—green tea. One green tea catechin in particular are the polyphenons that have been studied and promoted by the tea industry as an active ingredient of green tea that can effectively treat a wide range of medical ailments such as tooth decay, high blood pressure, allergies, obesity, high blood sugar levels, etc.

Outside of the tea industry, medical use of a green tea-derived polyphenon called “Polyphenon E” is used in an ointment formulation that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sexually transmitted diseases for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts.

However one of the most impotant studied potential benefits of Polyphenon E is that it may prove to be a potent chemopreventive agent for multiple cancers including breast cancer.

In a recent press release issued by the American Association for Cancer Research, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York presented data at the 11th Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research that showed that a green tea extract containing Polyphenon E can decrease blood levels of some breast cancer growth factors in women fed a green tea extract.

The results presented was a continuation of analysis of data gleaned and presented last year at the international conference about a study involving 40 women who were given doses of either 400, 600, or 800 milligrams of Polyphenon E twice a day for 6 months in comparison to a control group of women who were given a placebo.

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In this year’s analysis of data collected form blood and urine samples from the study’s participants, the researchers looked for biomarkers that could link the effects of green tea extract on breast cancer prevention.

What they found was that women who were given the Polyphenon E-containing green tea extract had 10-times the amount of potentially disease-preventing green tea metabolites in their blood in comparison to women who were given the placebo. Furthermore, at the 2-month time point of the trial, the Polyphenon E group had statistically significant less breast cancer growth factor-related levels compared to the placebo group. However, at the 4 and 6-month time points of the study, the blood levels of a hepatocyte growth factor remained the same in both groups, whereas other breast cancer related growth factors remained decreased for the Polyphenon E test group.

One other plus of the Polyphenon E extract was that it appeared to cause a decrease in blood cholesterol levels.

The researchers state that additional research is needed to determine definitively whether oral green tea extracts can be recommended by health authorities for the prevention of breast cancer.

For more information about green and other types of tea and their benefits, follow this informative link to an Emaxhealth article titled “Some Facts About Green Tea.”

Image Source: Courtesy of Morguefile

Reference: American Association for Cancer Research press release