Green Tea May Block Prostate Cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Green tea contains chemicals called polyphenols that appear to slow the progression of prostate cancer, at least in mice, according to a report in the journal Cancer Research.

Dr. Hasan Mukhtar, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues previously showed that feeding mice green tea polyphenols blocked the development and progression of prostate cancer.

In the current study, the researchers clarified the chemical basis for this observation. They found that polyphenols inhibited a chemical pathway that plays a key role in the development of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer normally occurs in men over 50 years of age, Mukhtar told Reuters Health, but the chemical process that starts it all begins decades earlier.

"If we can somehow shift the progression of prostate cancer from 20 years to even 25 years, then this could be a significant achievement," he said.

He noted that drinking up to 12 cups of green tea per day has no known toxic effects on the human body.

SOURCE: Cancer Research, December 1, 2004.