Experimental studies suggest various features of anticancer activity of green tea including inhibitory effect of tumor invasion and metastasis. This study was conducted to examine the association between regular green tea consumption prior to diagnosis and subsequent risk of breast cancer recurrence. The Hospital-based Epidemiologic Research Program at Aichi Cancer Center (HERPACC) was started in 1988, in which information on lifestyle has routinely been collected from all first-visit outpatients by questionnaire. A total of 1160 new surgical cases of female invasive breast cancers with HERPACC information diagnosed between June 1990 and August 1998 were followed up through December 1999, and the risk (hazard ratio: HR) of recurrence was assessed with reference to daily green tea consumption using a Cox proportional hazard model. During 5264 person-years of follow-up, 133 subjects (12%) were documented to suffer recurrence of breast cancer. A decreased HR for recurrence adjusted for stage was observed with consumption of three or more daily cups of green tea (HR=0.69, 95% confidence interval (95%CI)=0.47-1.00). Particularly in stage I, the HR was decreased statistically significantly (HR=0.43, 95%CI=0.22-0.84). A similar tendency was observed for stage II subjects, but was not present among more advanced stages. Although careful interpretation is needed, these results suggest the possibility that regular green tea consumption may be preventive against recurrence of breast cancer in early stage cases.