Green Tea Inhibits Cancer Drug

The benefits of green tea are well known and highly publicized, but a recent research group has found that some components of green tea block the positive effects of a commonly prescribed cancer drug.

The drug Velcade is commonly prescribed as a treatment in fighting multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. Green tea itself, with the backing of substantial research, is considered to have anti-cancer properties as well, due to it’s high anti-oxidant levels that have the effect of killing cancer-causing free radicals.

The results of the current study, which specifically looked at the green tea extract EGCG and it’s effects on Velcade, came as a shock, due to the expectation that green tea might actually enhance certain cancer treatments and drugs. “Our finding that GTE or EGCG blocked the therapeutic action of Velcade was completely unexpected. Our hypothesis was that GTE or EGCG would enhance the anti-tumor effects of Velcade, and that a combination of GTE with Velcade (or EGCG with Velcade) would turn out to be a superior cancer treatment as compared to treatment with Velcade alone,” says lead author Dr. Axel H. Schönthal.

According to the researchers, the results were profound and definitive. EGCG blocked the anti-cancer effects of Velcade in cancerous mice, almost entirely. While it’s unlikely that these tests could be confirmed on human subjects, because tests aimed at blocking positive effects of a cancer treatment are at the very least controversial, the researchers do believe that the current results warrant a strong warning. Dr. Schönthal states that “the most immediate conclusion from our study is the strong advice that patients undergoing cancer therapy with Velcade must avoid green tea, and in particular all of its concentrated products that are freely available from health food stores.”

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Schonthal, Axel. Lewit, Meghan. Blood news release. February 2009.