Cancer prevention by tea: animal studies, molecular mechanisms and human relevance

Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 Jun;9(6):429-39. doi: 10.1038/nrc2641.


Extracts of tea, especially green tea, and tea polyphenols have been shown to inhibit the formation and development of tumours at different organ sites in animal models. There is considerable evidence that tea polyphenols, in particular (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, inhibit enzyme activities and signal transduction pathways, resulting in the suppression of cell proliferation and enhancement of apoptosis, as well as the inhibition of cell invasion,angiogenesis and metastasis. Here, we review these biological activities and existing data relating tea consumption to human cancer risk in an attempt to understand the potential use of tea for cancer prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Tea* / chemistry


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate