Effects of oral administration of tea, decaffeinated tea, and caffeine on the formation and growth of tumors in high-risk SKH-1 mice previously treated with ultraviolet B light

Nutr Cancer. 1999;33(2):146-53. doi: 10.1207/S15327914NC330205.


Treatment of SKH-1 mice with ultraviolet B light (UV-B, 30 mJ/cm2) twice a week for 22-23 weeks resulted in tumor-free animals with a high risk of developing malignant and nonmalignant tumors during the next several months in the absence of further UV-B treatment (high-risk mice). In three separate experiments, oral administration of green tea or black tea (4-6 mg tea solids/ml) as the sole source of drinking fluid for 18-23 weeks to these high-risk mice inhibited the formation and decreased the size of nonmalignant squamous cell papillomas and keratoacanthomas as well as the formation and size of malignant squamous cell carcinomas. In one experiment all these inhibitory effects of tea were statistically significant, whereas in the two other experiments many but not all of the inhibitory effects of tea were statistically significant. The decaffeinated teas were inactive or less effective inhibitors of tumor formation than the regular teas, and adding caffeine back to the decaffeinated teas restored biological activity. Oral administration of caffeine alone (0.44 mg/ml) as the sole source of drinking fluid for 18-23 weeks inhibited the formation of nonmalignant and malignant tumors, and this treatment also decreased tumor size in these high-risk mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Keratoacanthoma / pathology
  • Keratoacanthoma / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / prevention & control*
  • Papilloma / pathology
  • Papilloma / prevention & control*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Tea*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Tea
  • Caffeine