Phase 2 trial of daily, oral Polyphenon E in patients with asymptomatic, Rai stage 0 to II chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Cancer. 2013 Jan 15;119(2):363-70. doi: 10.1002/cncr.27719. Epub 2012 Jul 3.


Background: The objective of the current study was to follow up the results of phase 1 testing by evaluating the clinical efficacy of the green tea extract Polyphenon E for patients with early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Methods: Previously untreated patients with asymptomatic, Rai stage 0 to II CLL and an absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) ≥ 10 × 10(9) /L were eligible for this phase 2 trial. Polyphenon E with a standardized dose of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) (2000 mg per dose) was administered twice daily.

Results: A total of 42 patients received Polyphenon E at a dose of 2000 mg twice daily for up to 6 months. Of these patients, 29 (69%) had Rai stage I to II disease. Patients received a median of 6 cycles of treatment (range, 1 cycle-6 cycles). The most common grade 3 side effects (according to National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events) were transaminitis (1 patient), abdominal pain (1 patient), and fatigue (1 patient). Clinical activity was observed, with 13 patients (31%) experiencing a sustained reduction of ≥ 20% in the ALC and 20 of 29 patients (69%) with palpable adenopathy experiencing at least a 50% reduction in the sum of the products of all lymph node areas. EGCG plasma levels after 1 month of therapy were found to be correlated with reductions in lymphadenopathy (correlation co-efficient, 0.44; P = .02). Overall, 29 patients (69%) fulfilled the criteria for a biologic response with either a sustained decline ≥ 20% in the ALC and/or a reduction ≥ 30% in the sum of the products of all lymph node areas at some point during the 6 months of active treatment.

Conclusions: Daily oral EGCG in the Polyphenon E preparation was well tolerated by patients with CLL in this phase 2 trial. Durable declines in the ALC and/or lymphadenopathy were observed in the majority of patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Asymptomatic Diseases*
  • Catechin / administration & dosage
  • Catechin / adverse effects
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacokinetics
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / drug therapy*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Catechin
  • polyphenon E