In a study presented, in June 2010, (at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting), investigators report a 69% response rate (reduction in lymphocyte count by >/=20% or a 50% reduction in lymph node size) in patients with a common leukemia type, called chronic lymphoctyic leukemia (CLL), when they received a green tea extract (EGCG). The EGCG was well tolerated with very few side effects.
Since this cancer often affects individuals who are diagnosed with it for many years, having a therapy that is safe and effective (and inexpensive) is an attractive option. Without more rigorous studies (i.e. phase 3 trials), we can’t know for sure about the absolute effectiveness of EGCG as a treatment for CLL. That said, it likely can’t hurt to follow one of the common recommendations in integrative oncology consultations- drink 3-5 cups of freshly brewed green tea every day (EGCG has been shown to have numerous ‘anti-cancer’ activities: promotes tumor cell death, inhibits tumor blood vessel growth, antioxidant, etc.)
Although many papers have reported an association between green tea consumption and low incidence rates of various cancers, a review article, published in July 2009 (in The Chochrane Library) was unable to find convincing evidence supporting this potential link. (Read More Here) Nevertheless, the authors of this review suggested that drinking 3-5 cups of green tea each day is “desireable.”
As always, discuss your use of any supplements (including green tea) with your oncologist if you are actively undergoing cancer therapies.