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Keywords:

  • Esophageal cancer;
  • Green tea;
  • Lung cancer;
  • Polyphenol

Abstract

Green tea contains high concentrations of tea polyphenols that have shown inhibitory effects against the development, progress, and growth of carcinogen-induced tumors in animal models at different organ sites, including the esophagus and lung. Green tea polyphenols also have shown to suppress cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. Besides antioxidative property, green tea polyphenols have pro-oxidative activities under certain conditions and modulate phase II metabolic enzymes that can enhance the detoxification pathway of environmental toxicants and carcinogens. Although epidemiological studies have provided inconclusive results on the effect of green tea consumption against the development of esophageal and lung cancers in humans overall, the inverse association between green tea intake and risk of esophageal cancer risk is more consistently observed in studies with adequate control for potential confounders. Epidemiological studies also have demonstrated an inverse, albeit moderate, association between green tea consumption and lung cancer, especially in non-smokers. This article reviews data on the cancer-preventive activities of green tea extract and green tea polyphenols and possible mechanisms against the esophageal and lung carcinogenesis in experimental animals, and summarizes the current knowledge from epidemiological studies on the relationship between green tea consumption and esophageal and lung cancer risk in humans.