Quercetin increased the antiproliferative activity of green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin gallate in prostate cancer cells

Nutr Cancer. 2012;64(4):580-7. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2012.661514. Epub 2012 Mar 27.


We previously demonstrated that 50% of (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) was present in methylated form (4″-MeEGCG) in human prostate tissue, which is less bioactive. We therefore investigated whether quercetin, a natural inhibitor of catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT), will inhibit EGCG methylation leading to enhanced antiproliferative activity of EGCG in prostate cancer cells. Incubation with both quercetin and EGCG for 2 h increased the cellular concentrations of EGCG by 4- to 8-fold and 6- to 10-fold in androgen-independent PC-3 cells and androgen-dependent LNCaP cells, respectively. Concurrently, the percent of 4″-MeEGCG in the total EGCG was decreased from 39% to 15% in PC-3 cells and from 61% to 38% in LNCaP cells. Quercetin and EGCG in combination synergistically inhibited cell proliferation, caused cell cycle arrest, and induced apoptosis in PC-3 cells. In LNCaP cells, EGCG and quercetin exhibited a stronger antiproliferative activity leading to an additive effect. The synergistic effect of these 2 agents in PC-3 cells could be based on the fact that EGCG primarily inhibited COMT activity, whereas quercetin reduced the amount of COMT protein. In summary, quercetin combined with EGCG in vitro demonstrated enhanced inhibition of cell proliferation by increasing the intracellular concentration of EGCG and decreasing EGCG methylation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / metabolism
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase Inhibitors
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylation / drug effects
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Tea / chemistry*


  • Androgens
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase Inhibitors
  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • Quercetin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase