A major component found in green tea can significantly inhibit tumour growth in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.
The study, by researchers from University of Mississippi, has revealed that antioxidant epigallocatechin-3- gallate (EGCG) could considerably slow down breast tumour growth in female mice.
Previous studies have shown that a combination of green tea and EGCG could be beneficial in providing protection against certain types of cancers, including breast cancer, however the anti-cancer mechanism was not clear.
In the present study, the researchers observed whether drinking EGCG infused in water could inhibit expression of VEGF or vascular endothelial growth factor, found in a variety of breast cancer types, tumour angiogenesis, which is thought to help tumours expand by supplying them with nutrients and the growth of breast cancer in female mice.
The seven-week-old mice received 50 ml of EGCG in drinking water for five weeks while the control mice was given regular drinking water
After the first week, the mice was injected with mouse breast cancer cells in the left fourth mammary glands
The researchers examined the tumor size by measuring tumour cross section area (TCSA) and were isolated and measured for tumour weight, intratumoral microvessel (IM) density (using staining), and VEGF protein levels.
The findings revealed that oral consumption of EGCG caused 66pct reduction in TCSA, tumour weight showed 68pct reduction. Reductions were also seen in IM density and VEGF protein levels in the breast tumours.
"In this study we have demonstrated that the frequent ingestion of EGCG significantly inhibits breast tumor growth, VEGF expression and tumor angiogenesis in mice," said Jian-Wei Gu, lead researcher.
"We believe our findings will help lead to new therapies for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer in women," he added.
The study was presented at the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society.