7, 2008 -- An antioxidant in green tea may be a powerful weapon against
A new study shows the green tea antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate)
significantly slowed breast cancer growth in female mice.
Previous studies have suggested that this antioxidant may protect against
breast cancer and other cancers, but this research has been limited, and
the mechanism behind these effects isn't clear.
Researchers say the results suggest that green tea's anticancer effects
may be largely because of its high content of EGCG, which helps the body's
cells from becoming damaged and aging prematurely.
Behind Green Tea's Anticancer Effect
In the study, presented this week at the Experimental Biology 2008 conference,
researchers examined the effects of the green tea antioxidant on several
indicators of breast cancer growth in laboratory mice.
One group of the female mice was fed a solution of the antioxidant in
water for five weeks while the other received regular drinking water.
During the second week of the study, researchers injected both groups
with breast cancer cells.
At the end of the study, researchers measured tumor size, weight, and
density as well as VEGF protein levels associated with tumor growth.
The results showed that treatment with the green tea antioxidant decreased
tumor size by 66% and weight by 68% compared with the control group. Mice
fed the antioxidant also had significantly lower density of small blood
vessels within tumors and VEGF protein levels.
Researcher Jian-Wei Gu, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center
in Jackson, says the green tea antioxidant may work against breast cancer
by suppressing blood vessel growth in breast tumors as well as slowing
the proliferation and migration of breast cancer cells.
By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD