Tags: green tea | fights | leukemia | cancer cells | chronic lynphocytic leukemia | CLL | EGCG

Green Tea Keeps Leukemia at Bay

Friday, 11 Jun 2010 08:40 AM

EGCG, an extract of green tea, fights cancer cells in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), say researchers at Mayo Clinic. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is the major chemical component of green tea, and it reduced the number of cancer cells in patients during a phase II clinical trial.

“Although only a comparative phase III trial can determine whether EGCG can delay progression of CLL, the benefits we have seen in most CLL patients who use the chemical suggest that it has modest clinical activity and may be useful for stabilizing this form of leukemia, potentially slowing it down,” Dr. Tait Shanafelt, a Mayo Clinic hematologist and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

“These studies advance the notion that a nutraceutical like EGCG can and should be studied as cancer preventives,” Dr. Neil Kay, a hematology researcher whose laboratory first tested the green tea extract in leukemic blood cells from CLL patients, said in a statement. “Using nontoxic chemicals to push back cancer growth to delay the need for toxic therapies is a worthy goal in oncology research — particularly for forms of cancer initially managed by observation such as CLL.”

Both doctors stress that EGCG is not a substitute for chemotherapy, and all patients in the study had CLL in its earliest stages and would normally not be treated until their disease worsened.

CLL is a blood cancer that is a cross between leukemia and lymphoma. Its progression is measured by the number of leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow as well as the size of lymph nodes. In the Mayo study, the number of leukemia cells was reduced in one-third of patients, and the size of lymph nodes was reduced by at least 50 percent in 69 percent of patients. In addition, side effects were minimal.

“Without a phase III clinical trial, we cannot make a recommendation that EGCG be used by CLL patients, but those who want to take supplements should consult with their oncologists and need to receive appropriate monitoring using laboratory tests,” Kay said.

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, CLL is one of the four main types of leukemia and is more common in people who are age 60 and above. About 15,500 new cases were diagnosed in 2009, and more than 85,700 people in the United States either have an active form of the disease or are in remission.

© HealthDay

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EGCG, an extract of green tea, fights cancer cells in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), say researchers at Mayo Clinic.
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