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Green Tea May Negate the Effects of a Common Cancer Therapy
Date:2/3/2009

lymphoma, normally fights disease by inhibiting proteasomes and inducing tumor cell death. However, in both in vitro and in vivo mouse experiments, the team was surprised to find that the EGCG compound seemed to prevent bortezomib from fighting the disease by blocking its proteasome inhibitory function -- the two compounds effectively contradicted one another in the cell, leaving nearly 100 percent of the tumor cells intact.

Importantly, the team found that EGCG only reacted with proteasome inhibitors that have a boronic acid base (including bortezomib) but did not react with several non-boronic acid-based proteasome inhibitors (such as nelfinavir [Viracept(R)], a treatment for HIV). The researchers determined that the boronic acid in bortezomib helped to bind the EGCG directly to the therapy molecule, thereby cancelling out the effects of both the green tea and the therapy on the tumor cells.

The study findings may have several important implications in the clinical setting. The EGCG blocked bortezomib's antitumor effects at levels that are commonly achieved with the use of available concentrated green tea supplements (as low as 2.5 micromolars -- which can be attained with two to three 250 mg capsules of green tea extract) suggesting the impact is very real for patients supplementing their therapy. The team also believes that as the EGCG inactivates bortezomib's function in the tumor cell, it may also prevent some of the side effects that usually accompany the therapy. As a result, patients taking green tea products to supplement their therapy may experience improved well being and feel encouraged to increase their intake while unknowingly blunting or completely negating the efficacy of their bortezomib treatment.

"Our surprising results indicate that green tea polyphenols may have the potential to negate the therapeutic efficacy of bortezomib," said Dr. Schonthal. "The current evidence is suf
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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