Green tea may contain cure for oral cancer

5 Feb 2015

A compound found in green tea may trigger a cycle that kills oral cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, according to Penn State food scientists. The research could lead to treatments for oral cancer, as well as other types of cancer. Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate — EGCG — a compound found in […]

Green tea may contain cure for oral cancer

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-green-tea-leaves-image19206370A compound found in green tea may trigger a cycle that kills oral cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, according to Penn State food scientists. The research could lead to treatments for oral cancer, as well as other types of cancer.

Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate — EGCG — a compound found in green tea, killed oral cancer cells without harming normal cells, but researchers did not understand the reasons for its ability to target the cancer cells, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. The current study shows that EGCG may trigger a process in the mitochondria that leads to cell death.

“EGCG is doing something to damage the mitochondria and that mitochondrial damage sets up a cycle causing more damage and it spirals out, until the cell undergoes programmed cell death,” said Lambert. “It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria, and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species.”

As this mitochondrial demise continues, the cancer cell also reduces the expression of anti-oxidant genes, further lowering its defenses.

“So, it’s turning off its mechanism of protection at the same time that EGCG is causing this oxidative stress,” Lambert added.

The EGCG did not cause this reaction in normal cells. In fact, it appeared to increase the protective capabilities of the cell, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the online issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

The researchers studied normal human oral cells side-by-side with human oral cancer cells to determine how EGCG was affecting cancer cells differently than normal cells. They grew the normal and cancer cells on petri dishes and then exposed them to EGCG, the major polyphenol found in green tea, at concentrations typically found in the saliva after chewing green-tea chewing gum. At various times, the researchers would collect the cells and check for oxidative stress and signs of antioxidant response.

“We also took a lot of pictures, so we could use fluorescent dyes that measure mitochondrial function and oxidative stress and actually see these things develop,” said Lambert, who worked with Jong-Yung Park, a research technician and Ling Tao, a doctoral candidate in food science.

The researchers said that a protein called sirtuin 3 — SIRT3 — is critical to the process.

“It plays an important role in mitochondrial function and in anti-oxidant response in lots of tissues in the body, so the idea that EGCG might selectively affect the activity of sirtuin 3 in cancer cells — to turn it off — and in normal cells — to turn it on — is probably applicable in multiple kinds of cancers,” Lambert said.

The study builds on earlier research on how EGCG affected oral cancer, a disease that is expected to kill more than 8,000 people in the United States this year.

“We’ve published one paper previously just looking at the effect of these green tea polyphenols on oral cancer cells in cultures, and there have been other papers published using oral cancer cells and at least a couple of animal model studies that have looked at oral cancer and prevention of oral cancer,” said Lambert.

He said the next step would be to study the mechanism in animals. If those tests and human trials are successful, the researchers then hope to create anti-cancer treatments that are as effective as current treatments without the harmful side effects.

“The problem with a lot of chemotherapy drugs — especially early chemotherapy drugs — is that they really just target rapidly dividing cells, so cancer divides rapidly, but so do cells in your hair follicles and cells in your intestines, so you have a lot of side effects,” said Lambert. “But you don’t see these sorts of side effects with green tea consumption.”

The American Institute for Cancer Research supported this work.

 

 

 

Related tags

New

Related news

Mintel highlights innovative, surprising new products in 2018

Mintel highlights innovative, surprising new products in 2018

15 Aug 2018

Food and drink innovation in 2018 continues to be influenced by flavour extremes and the impact of social media in spreading visually stimulating and fun concepts, notes Chris Brockman, EMEA Research Manager at Mintel.

Read more 
Glanbia announces performance nutrition ingredients

Glanbia announces performance nutrition ingredients

25 May 2018

Glanbia Nutritionals has announced what it describes as two new pioneering and innovative performance nutrition ingredients for formulation in functional beverages in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Read more 
Ecotrophelia UK shortlist announced

Ecotrophelia UK shortlist announced

24 May 2018

The growing trend for plant-based diets has inspired the teams that have entered this year’s student food innovation competition – Ecotrophelia UK. All five of the shortlisted products are meat-free and four are also vegan.

Read more 
Healthcare continuum drives Lonza growth

Healthcare continuum drives Lonza growth

10 May 2018

Lonza has reported what it describes as a positive start to 2018 with businesses along the healthcare continuum as growth drivers.

Read more 
Arla enters breakfast food-to-go market

Arla enters breakfast food-to-go market

9 May 2018

Arla Foods is set to launch into the breakfast food-to-go market with the introduction of its new Milk & Oats range of ready to drink beverages.

Read more 
Eurofins to acquire Covance Food Solutions

Eurofins to acquire Covance Food Solutions

7 May 2018

Global life sciences company LabCorp has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which Eurofins Scientific will acquire the Covance Food Solutions business from LabCorp for $670 million.

Read more 
Engaging with the Instagram generation

Engaging with the Instagram generation

3 May 2018

Colourful, exotic and unusual foods are on the rise as a growing number of consumers look for food experiences they can share on social media.

Read more 
New shake makes children taller

New shake makes children taller

1 May 2018

Nutritional Growth Solutions is introducing Healthy Height, a kids’ protein shake the company says is clinically shown to improve children’s height, to the European market.

Read more 
Mintel: Europe leads on private label launches

Mintel: Europe leads on private label launches

27 Apr 2018

Europe accounted for over half (57%) of all private label launches with premium claims globally in 2017, according to new research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

Read more 
Ohly launches maple syrup powder

Ohly launches maple syrup powder

1 Aug 2016

Ohly has launched a new Maple Syrup Specialty Powder. The latest addition to the ProDry range is said to deliver authentic maple syrup flavour and sweetness in a free flowing powder form.

Read more