Tea is one of the most popular beverages consumed in the world and has been demonstrated to have anti-cancer activity in animal models. Research findings suggest that the polyphenolic compounds, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate found primarily in green tea, and theaflavin-3,3'-digallate, a major component of black tea, are the two most effective anti-cancer factors found in tea. Several mechanisms to explain the chemopreventive effects of tea have been presented but others and we suggest that tea components target specific cell-signaling pathways responsible for regulating cellular proliferation or apoptosis. These pathways include signal transduction pathways leading to activator protein-1 (AP-1) and/or nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB). AP-1 and NF-kappaB are transcription factors that are known to be extremely important in tumor promoterinduced cell transformation and tumor promotion, and both are influenced differentially by the MAP kinase pathways. The purpose of this brief review is to present recent research data from other and our laboratory focusing on the tea-induced cellular signal transduction events associated with the MAP kinase, AP-1, and NF-kappaB pathways.