An overview of pre-clinical studies on the effects of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a catechin found in green tea, in treatment of pancreatic cancer

Recenti Prog Med. 2017 Jun;108(6):282-287. doi: 10.1701/2715.27715.


Human pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Despite surgical resection remains the only curative therapeutic treatment for this disease, only the minority of patients can be resected due to late diagnosis. Recently, new chemotherapy schemes with the combination of different drugs have been shown to improve disease-free survival, although best results were obtained mostly as neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the minority of patients with resectable tumor. Consequently, there is stimulated interest in new chemotherapeutic approaches and alternative medicines. Several studies showed that the use of natural compounds, such as phytochemicals, represents a promising strategy for pancreatic cancer treatment. One popular phytochemical with great anticancer properties, is the (-)-epigallocate-chin3-O-gallate (EGCG), the most abundant catechin found in green tea. Accumulating evidences demonstrated that EGCG induces apoptosis and inhibits tumor progression by modulating different signaling pathways in pancreatic cancer. For these encouraging results, this catechin is currently used in clinical trials for treatment of various type of cancer and other diseases, although its poor bioavailability and poor stability represent severe limitations. Therefore, many researchers tried to develop a new strategy based of the use of nanotechnology which increases EGCG stability and bioavailability and simultaneously targets cancer cells in order to improve its anti-tumor effects. The aim of this article is to dissect the use of EGCG for management of pancreatic cancer, by reviewing the pre-clinical studies reported in literature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Biological Availability
  • Catechin / administration & dosage
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / pharmacokinetics
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tea / chemistry


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate