Cancer preventive activities of green tea and its main constituent, (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) have been extensively studied by scientists all over the world. Since 1983, we have studied the cancer chemopreventive effects of EGCG as well as green tea extract and underlying molecular mechanisms. The first part of this review summarizes ground-breaking topics with EGCG and green tea extract: 1) Delayed cancer onset as revealed by a 10-year prospective cohort study, 2) Prevention of colorectal adenoma recurrence by a double-blind randomized clinical phase II trial, 3) Inhibition of metastasis of B16 melanoma cells to the lungs of mice, 4) Increase in the average value of Young's moduli, i.e., cell stiffness, for human lung cancer cell lines and inhibition of cell motility and 5) Synergistic enhancement of anticancer activity against human cancer cell lines with the combination of EGCG and anticancer compounds. In the second part, we became interested in cancer stem cells (CSCs). 1) Cancer stem cells in mouse skin carcinogenesis by way of introduction, after which we discuss two subjects from our review on human CSCs reported by other investigators gathered from a search of PubMed, 2) Expression of stemness markers of human CSCs compared with their parental cells, and 3) EGCG decreases or increases the expression of mRNA and protein in human CSCs. On this point, EGCG inhibited self-renewal and expression of pluripotency-maintaining transcription factors in human CSCs. Human CSCs are thus a target for cancer prevention and treatment with EGCG and green tea catechins.
Keywords: AFM; Nanog; Oct4; Sox2; stemness.