Tea polyphenols decrease serum levels of prostate-specific antigen, hepatocyte growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor in prostate cancer patients and inhibit production of hepatocyte growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor in vitro

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2009 Jul;2(7):673-82. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0167. Epub 2009 Jun 19.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of short-term supplementation with the active compounds in green tea on serum biomarkers in patients with prostate cancer. Twenty-six men with positive prostate biopsies and scheduled for radical prostatectomy were given daily doses of Polyphenon E, which contained 800 mg of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and lesser amounts of (-)-epicatechin, (-)-epigallocatechin, and (-)-epicatechin-3-gallate (a total of 1.3 g of tea polyphenols), until time of radical prostatectomy. Serum was collected before initiation of the drug study and on the day of prostatectomy. Serum biomarkers hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) were analyzed by ELISA. Toxicity was monitored primarily through liver function enzymes. Changes in serum components were analyzed statistically using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. Cancer-associated fibroblasts were treated with EGCG, and HGF and VEGF protein and mRNA levels were measured. HGF, VEGF, PSA, IGF-I, IGFBP-3, and the IGF-I/IGFBP-3 ratio decreased significantly during the study. All of the liver function tests also decreased, five of them significantly: total protein, albumin, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and amylase. The decrease in HGF and VEGF was confirmed in prostate cancer-associated fibroblasts in vitro. Our results show a significant reduction in serum levels of PSA, HGF, and VEGF in men with prostate cancer after brief treatment with EGCG (Polyphenon E), with no elevation of liver enzymes. These findings support a potential role for Polyphenon E in the treatment or prevention of prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Flavonoids / chemistry*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Polyphenols
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / biosynthesis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Tea*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Flavonoids
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tea
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen