Objective: Numerous in vitro and animal studies have shown that green tea has a protective effect against cancer. However, results from epidemiologic studies are conflicting. We evaluated the association between green tea consumption and risk for gastric cancer risk among the Japanese population based on a systematic review of epidemiologic evidence.
Methods: Original data were obtained from MEDLINE searches using PubMed or from searches of the Ichushi database, complemented with manual searches. Evaluation of associations was based on the strength of evidence and the magnitude of association, together with biologic plausibility.
Results: Eight cohort studies and three case-control studies were identified. Overall, we found no preventive effect on gastric cancer for green tea intake in cohort studies. However, a small, consistent risk reduction limited to women was observed, which was confirmed by pooling data of six cohort studies (hazard ratio = 0.79, 95% confidence interval 0.65-0.96 with ≥5 cups/day of green tea intake). Case-control studies consistently showed a weak inverse association between green tea intake and gastric cancer risk.
Conclusions: We conclude that green tea possibly decreases the risk of gastric cancer in women. However, epidemiologic evidence is still insufficient to demonstrate any association in men.