Inhibition of carcinogenesis by tea and tea polyphenols has been demonstrated in many animal models. The mechanisms of action have been extensively investigated mostly in cell culture systems with (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the most active and major polyphenolic compound from green tea. However, the mechanisms of cancer preventive activity by tea and tea polyphenols are not clearly understood. This article discusses some of the reported mechanisms and possible targets for the action of EGCG. The difficulties and major issues in extrapolating data from studies in cancer cell lines to cancer prevention mechanisms are discussed. Activities observed in cell culture with high concentrations of EGCG may not be relevant because of the limited systemic bioavailability of EGCG. In addition, possible artifacts due to the auto-oxidation of EGCG may complicate this issue. Some recent studies revealed high-affinity EGCG binding proteins as possible direct targets for the action of EGCG. Validating the related cancer preventive mechanisms found in in vitro studies in animal models and human samples would be exciting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research