Green tea extract (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) reduces efficacy of radiotherapy on prostate cancer cells

Urology. 2011 Aug;78(2):475.e15-21. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2011.03.031. Epub 2011 Jun 14.


Objectives: To assess the influence of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) on the efficacy of ionizing radiation on prostate cancer cells because of the increased use of dietary interventions, especially by patients with prostate cancer. Radiotherapy is used to treat localized prostate cancer. Some people consume green tea (EGCG) as a chemopreventive agent against prostate cancer. Green tea can act as an antioxidant and induce superoxide dismutase enzymes, which could scavenge the free oxygen radicals generated by radiotherapy.

Methods: Prostate cancer cell line DU145 cells were treated with EGCG or radiotherapy, or both. Cell death was assessed using trypan blue cell counting, and apoptosis was confirmed by assessing poly (adenosine phosphate ribose) polymerase cleavage. The antioxidant potential was assessed using Western immunoblotting for manganese superoxide dismutase and copper zinc superoxide dismutase enzymes. Radiotherapy was delivered using a linear accelerator. Cell cycle analysis was performed using flow cytometry.

Results: Radiotherapy at 3.5 Gy induced a 5.9-fold increase in apoptosis of DU145 cells. Subapoptotic doses of EGCG (1.5-7.5 μM) significantly reduced ionizing radiation-induced apoptosis (P < .001), with the inhibitory effect of EGCG on ionizing radiation being most effective when added 30 minutes before radiotherapy (P < .001). In addition, when radiotherapy and EGCG were used together, an approximate 1.5-fold increase in manganese superoxide dismutase levels was seen compared with the control and a 2-fold increase compared with radiotherapy alone.

Conclusions: Radiotherapy is effective in inducing apoptosis in DU145 cells, but its effect was significantly reduced in the presence of EGCG, and this was associated with an increase in the induction of manganese superoxide dismutase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Tea
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / radiation effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate