Green Tea May Offer Some Protection from Breast Cancer

in Health & Medicine, News Releases
July 9th, 2001

Contact: Gina M. Digravio, 617-638-8491 | gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston, Mass.) — Researchers from Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health have shown that compounds found in green tea may offer some protection from development of breast cancer. The study, which appears in the July 2001 issue of Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, is the first study to report significant reduction in the size and malignancy of breast tumors in rats drinking green tea compared to rats drinking water.

The researchers, led by Gail Sonenshein, MD, a professor of biochemistry, and Adrianne Rogers, MD, a professor of pathology at Boston University School of Medicine, compared breast cancer development in the 2 groups of female rats. They found that the rats given green tea developed their tumors later than rats drinking water (averaging 88 days as compared to 66 days), and also had a 70% reduction in tumor weight compared to those receiving water. Lastly, the green tea group had less invasive cancers than the water-fed group.

According to the researchers, statistics indicate that the incidence of breast cancer in regions where green tea is consumed in large quantities, notably China and Japan, is much lower than in western societies. “There are, of course, many dietary and other differences to be examined, but green tea is considered one of the prime candidates to account for this difference. Although we don’t believe green tea by itself will prevent breast cancer, it may prove beneficial when used in combination with other dietary factors,” added Soneshein.

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