Background: Although laboratory experiments and case-control studies have suggested that the consumption of green tea provides protection against gastric cancer, few prospective studies have been performed.
Methods: In January 1984, a total of 26,311 residents in three municipalities of Miyagi Prefecture, in northern Japan (11,902 men and 14,409 women 40 years of age or older), completed a self-administered questionnaire that included questions about the frequency of consumption of green tea. During 199,748 person-years of follow-up, through December 1992, we identified 419 cases of gastric cancer (in 296 men and 123 women). We used Cox regression to estimate the relative risk of gastric cancer according to the consumption of green tea.
Results: Green-tea consumption was not associated with the risk of gastric cancer. After adjustment for sex, age, presence or absence of a history of peptic ulcer smoking status, alcohol consumption, other dietary elements, and type of health insurance, the relative risks associated with drinking one or two, three or four, and five or more cups of green tea per day, as compared with less than one cup per day, were 1.1 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.8 to 1.6), 1.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.7 to 1.4), and 1.2 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.9 to 1.6), respectively (P for trend=0.13). The results were similar after the 117 cases of gastric cancer that were diagnosed in the first three years of follow-up had been excluded, with respective relative risks of 1.2 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.8 to 1.8) 1.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.7 to 1.5), and 1.4 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.0 to 1.9) (P for trend=0.07).
Conclusions: In a population-based, prospective cohort study in Japan, we found no association between green-tea consumption and the risk of gastric cancer.