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Welcome to The Cancer Information Network

Green Tea Does Not Provide Cancer Prevention

By Jiade J. Lu, MD

Green tea is widely consumed in Asian countries, especially China and Japan. It has been suggested that green tea has a protective effect against the development of stomach adenocarcinoma, the second leading cause of cancer death throughout the world. Although laboratory experiments and some case-control studies have shown that some chemicals extracted from green tea may inhibit development of several types of cancer, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine did not confirm such preventive effects.

Dr. Yoshitaka Tsubono and colleagues from the Department of Public Health and Forensic Medicine at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine conducted a large population-based, prospective cohort study in three municipalities in northern Japan. A total of 26,611 individuals were studied between January 1988 and December 1992. The majority of the studied subjects were 40 years of age or older. All patients were required to complete a self- administered questionnaire that included questions about the frequency and amount of green tea consumed, and were followed up with screening examinations for adenocarcinoma of the stomach for at least 8 years.

During the 8-year follow-up, approximately 420 patients were diagnosed with stomach cancer. Of these patients, 296 were men and 123 were women. The incidence of stomach cancer among all the studied subjects was analyzed by utilizing several sophisticated statistics models, and the relative risk of gastric cancer according to the consumption of green tea was estimated. The researchers found that green tea consumption does not decrease the risk of gastric cancer. Individuals who drink one or two, three or four, and five or more cups of green tea daily have a similar risk of developing stomach carcinoma as people who drink less than one cup per day.

"In conclusion, in a prospective cohort study, we found no association -- inverse or otherwise -- between the consumption of green tea and the risk of gastric cancer in Japan," said Dr. Tsubono.

Reference: Green tea and the risk of gastric cancer in Japan. New England Journal of Medicine 2001 Mar 1; 344 (9):632-6

This article is copyrighted by The Cancer Information NetworkTM -- a leading national organization dedicated to cancer patients and their caregivers. This article may be transmitted freely with this contact and attribution information. For more information on cancer, cancer diagnosis and treatment, visit 

The Cancer Information Network 2002

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