Mechanisms of cancer prevention by tea polyphenols based on inhibition of TNF-alpha expression

Biofactors. 2000;13(1-4):67-72. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520130112.


Among various biochemical and biological activities of tea polyphenols, we believe inhibition of the expression and release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is crucial, since our study with TNF-alpha-deficient mice has revealed that TNF-alpha is an essential factor in tumor promotion. We found that EGCG dose-dependently inhibited AP-1 and NF-kappaB activation in BALB/3T3 cells treated with okadaic acid, resulting in inhibition of TNF-alpha gene expression. Furthermore, treatment with 0.1% green tea extract in drinking water reduced TNF-alpha gene expression as well as TNF-alpha protein level in the lung of TNF-alpha transgenic mice; and IL-1beta and IL-10 gene expression in the lung was also inhibited by treatment with green tea extract, indicating that green tea inhibits both TNF-alpha and the cytokines induced by TNF-alpha in organs. We recently found synergistic effects of EGCG and cancer preventive agents such as tamoxifen and sulindac, on cancer preventive activity. Taken together, the results show that green tea is efficacious as a non-toxic cancer preventive for humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives
  • Catechin / pharmacology*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Okadaic Acid / pharmacology
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Polymers / pharmacology*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Tea*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • Interleukin-1
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polymers
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Tea
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Okadaic Acid
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • gallocatechol