Fermented Pu-erh tea increases in vitro anticancer activities in HT-29 cells and has antiangiogenetic effects on HUVECs

J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2013;32(4):275-88. doi: 10.1615/jenvironpatholtoxicoloncol.2013007074.


Pu-erh tea is produced in China and known to possess medicinal properties. The anticancer and antiangiogenesis effects of fermented Pu-erh tea on HT-29 colon cancer cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells, respectively, were examined. Two kinds of unfermented and fermented Pu-erh tea (Seven-son tea cake Pu-erh tea and Xiaguan bowl tea [X]) and green tea were used. An MTT assay showed fermented Pu-erh tea X (85% inhibition) possessed more potent anticancer activities than unfermented Pu-erh tea X (67% inhibition) and green tea (53% inhibition) (P < 0.05). Moreover, fermented Pu-erh tea X increased the number of apoptotic bodies determined through DAPI staining and flow cytometric analysis. Fermented Pu-erh tea X induced apoptosis indicated by increased expression of Bax, caspase-9, and caspase-3 messenger RNA and decreased expression of Bcl-2. Fermented Pu-erh tea X also had an anti-inflammation effect, shown in decreased expression of nuclear factor-κB-p65, inducible nitric oxide synthase, COX-2 messenger RNA and increased expression of IκB-α. Further, fermented Pu-erh teas showed stronger antiangiogenesis effects than the 2 other types of tea. After fermentation, the concentrations of gallic acid, resorcylic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol in Pu-erh tea were increased. These results collectively indicated that fermented and unfermented Pu-erh teas possess stronger anticancer and antiangiogenesis effects than green tea. Furthermore, fermented Pu-erh tea showed stronger functional activities than unfermented Pu-erh tea.

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology*
  • Fermentation
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Phytotherapy
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Tea*
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Tea
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Caspases