Chemopreventive potential of epigallocatechin gallate and genistein: evidence from epidemiological and laboratory studies

Toxicol Lett. 2004 Apr 15;150(1):43-56. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2003.06.001.


A wide array of antioxidative and anti-inflammatory substances derived from edible plants have been reported to possess chemopreventive and chemoprotective activities. Among the most extensively investigated and well-defined dietary chemopreventives are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a principal antioxidant derived from green tea and genistein, a major pharmacologically active isoflavone widely present in soy products. Multiple lines evidence from epidemiologic studies indicate that frequent consumption of green tea is inversely associated with the risk of several types of human cancer, and studies with animal and in vitro cell culture models have revealed EGCG as a major chemopreventive ingredient of green tea. The lower frequencies of breast and prostate cancer in Asian population in general, compared to those in Western societies have been attributed to their consumption of relatively large amounts of soy products. Genistein, as a principal chemopreventive components of soy, exerts a wide array of chemopreventive activities in each stage of multistep carcinogenesis. The purpose of this review is to provide perspectives on the molecular basis of chemopreventive activities of EGCG and geneistein as representative functional food phytochemicals with emphasis on their ability to control intracellular signaling cascades responsible for regulating cell growth and differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Diet
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Estrogen Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Food
  • Genistein / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Estrogen Antagonists
  • Isoflavones
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Plant Preparations
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Genistein