Green Tea Compound May Block Breast Cancer Pathway

March 23, 2011

Taiwanese researchers tested a theory of links between green tea, nicotine, and a female hormone linked to breast cancer.

Taiwanese researchers conclude that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound found in green tea (Camellia sinensis), may have implications in breast cancer cell growth. The research has been published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

The research team from Taipei Medical University sought to identify potential interplay between EGCG, nicotine and estradiol-a hormone which, in high levels, has been linked to greater breast cancer risk. Their hypothesis was that EGCG may block smoking- and hormone-induced breast cancer cell proliferation through inhibition of α9-nicotinic acetylcholine (α9-nAChR), a common signaling pathway.

Using polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting techniques to track breast cancer cells, and a test to assess activity in the α9-nAChR pathway, the researchers indeed concluded that EGCG decreased nicotine- and estradiol-induced breast cancer cells while also down-regulating the α9-nAChR pathway.

“This study reveals the novel antitumor mechanisms of EGCG, and these results may have significant applications for chemopreventive purposes in human breast cancer,” concluded the researchers.