Green tea compound kills leukemia cells

April 01, 2004
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Life Extension Update Exclusive:

Green tea compound kills leukemia cells


Leukemia and Lymphomas

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Super Green Tea Extract

Super Green Tea Extract Decaffeinated

Life Extension Magazine:

April 2004 issue now online!

Life Extension Update Exclusive

Green tea compound kills leukemia cells
Research published in the March 2 2004 online edition of the journal Blood ( has revealed that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), one of the beneficial catechins in green tea, destroys cancerous cells derived from patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), one of the most common types of leukemia in the United States. Mayo Clinic researchers discovered that by interrupting communication signals involving vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that the cells use to survive, EGCG caused the death of leukemia cells in eight out of ten patient samples.

There is currently no cure for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Some patients live with the disease for decades and do not require treatment while others die within months of diagnosis. Physicians have adopted an attitude of watchful waiting with patients in the early stages of the disease in order to spare them from the toxic effects of chemotherapy, which is only used for severe cases. This practice has lately been questioned because newer tests have enabled physicians to more readily identify patients who have a more aggressive form of the CLL. Lead author Yean K. Lee commented, "With these findings we may be able to pursue the idea of culling out early-stage patients who have historically not been treated and perhaps use an EGCG-based treatment. That's our next step with our research."

The team investigated green tea because studies over the last several decades have revealed a lower incidence of tumors in parts of the world where the tea is widely consumed. "We're continuing to look for therapeutic agents that are nontoxic to the patient but kill cancer cells, and this finding with EGCG is an excellent start, “stated research team leader Neil E. Kay, MD. “Understanding this mechanism and getting these positive early results gives us a lot to work with in terms of offering patients with this disease more effective, easily tolerated therapies earlier."


Leukemia and lymphomas
Leukemias are cancers of the blood-forming organs, and lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic tissues.

Leukemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma generally respond well to conventional therapies. There are many different types of these diseases; therefore, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are individualized. Patients who do not respond well to chemotherapy and radiation therapy may benefit from other treatments such as bone marrow transplantation or a peripheral blood stem-cell transplant. In addition to conventional treatment, there are a number of alternative therapies available. Patients with certain types of leukemia or lymphoma may derive beneficial effects from Vesanoid, vitamin A, vitamin D3, curcumin, green tea, and soy extracts. It is imperative that patients have regular monitoring of tumor markers (or tumor size) to assess the usefulness of any treatment. Consult your hematologist or oncologist prior to initiating alternative treatments.

Green tea extract providing high amounts of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) suppresses VEGF and other growth factors used by cancer cells to escape regulatory control. An appropriate dose for VEGF blockade would be 5 capsules of the lightly caffeinated Super Green Tea Extract capsules with each meal. Each capsule provides 122.5 mg of the critical anticancer polyphenol called EGCG. Caffeine has been shown to potentiate tea polyphenols, such as EGCG. Because caffeine can keep some people awake at night, it might be preferable to take 5 decaffeinated Super Green Tea Extract capsules as the evening dose, or use decaffeinated green tea exclusively if hypersensitive to caffeine.

Featured Products of the Week

Super Green Tea Extract

Green tea contains catechins, a class of flavonoids. These substances have been shown to provide a number of health-promoting benefits:

  • Catechins are antioxidants with the ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species such as superoxide and the hydroxyl and peroxyl radicals.
  • Catechins have fluid stabilizing properties.
  • Catechins have a thermogenic (fat burning) effect in the body.
  • Catechins can boost the effectiveness of enzymatic phase II detoxification.
  • Catechins appear to help maintain healthy cell colonies.

Super Green Tea Extract, Decaffeinated

For those who are sensitive to caffeine or otherwise do not wish to consume it, Green Tea Extract is available in decaffeinated form.

Life Extension Magazine April 2004 issue now online!



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April 2004

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For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
Life Extension Foundation
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