Effects of a green tea extract, Polyphenon E, on systemic biomarkers of growth factor signalling in women with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015 Jun;28(3):272-82. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12229. Epub 2014 Mar 19.


Background: Observational and experimental data support a potential breast cancer chemopreventive effect of green tea.

Methods: We conducted an ancillary study using archived blood/urine from a phase IB randomised, placebo-controlled dose escalation trial of an oral green tea extract, Polyphenon E (Poly E), in breast cancer patients. Using an adaptive trial design, women with stage I-III breast cancer who completed adjuvant treatment were randomised to Poly E 400 mg (n = 16), 600 mg (n = 11) and 800 mg (n = 3) twice daily or matching placebo (n = 10) for 6 months. Blood and urine collection occurred at baseline, and at 2, 4 and 6 months. Biological endpoints included growth factor [serum hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)], lipid (serum cholesterol, triglycerides), oxidative damage and inflammatory biomarkers.

Results: From July 2007-August 2009, 40 women were enrolled and 34 (26 Poly E, eight placebo) were evaluable for biomarker endpoints. At 2 months, the Poly E group (all dose levels combined) compared to placebo had a significant decrease in mean serum HGF levels (-12.7% versus +6.3%, P = 0.04). This trend persisted at 4 and 6 months but was no longer statistically significant. For the Poly E group, serum VEGF decreased by 11.5% at 2 months (P = 0.02) and 13.9% at 4 months (P = 0.05) but did not differ compared to placebo. At 2 months, there was a trend toward a decrease in serum cholesterol with Poly E (P = 0.08). No significant differences were observed for other biomarkers.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest potential mechanistic actions of tea polyphenols in growth factor signalling, angiogenesis and lipid metabolism.

Keywords: breast cancer; chemoprevention; tea polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Catechin / administration & dosage
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Female
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / blood
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Placebos
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tea
  • Triglycerides
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Catechin
  • Cholesterol
  • polyphenon E