Green Tea May Help Fight Leukemia
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and the
Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers in Piscataway, NJ report
good results in early leukemia clinical trials using EGCG; the major
active ingredient in Green Tea. The trial determined that patients with
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can tolerate the Green Tea
constituent when high doses are taken in capsule form and that the
lymphocyte count was reduced in one-third of the patients. “We found
not only that patients tolerated the green tea extract at very high
doses, but that many of them saw regression to some degree of their
chronic lymphocytic leukemia,” says Tait Shanafelt, M.D., Mayo Clinic
hematologist and lead author of the study. “The majority of individuals
who entered the study with enlarged lymph nodes saw a 50 percent or
greater decline in their lymph node size.”
CLL is the most common type of leukemia in the United States.
Currently it has no cure. Blood tests have enabled early diagnosis in
many instances; however, treatment consists of watchful waiting until
the disease progresses. Statistics show that about half of patients
with early stage diseases have an aggressive form of CLL that leads to
early death. Researchers hope that EGCG can stabilize CLL for early
stage patients or perhaps improve the effectiveness of treatment when
combined with other therapies.
The research has moved to the second phase of clinical testing
in a follow-up trial -- already fully enrolled -- involving roughly the
same number of patients. All will receive the highest dose administered
from the previous trial.
In the first clinical trial designed to find the best dosage
of EGCG, 33 patients received variations of eight different oral doses
of a proprietary compound whose primary active ingredient is EGCG.
Doses ranged from 400 milligrams (mg) to 2,000 mg administered twice a
day. Researchers determined that they had not reached a maximum
tolerated dose, even at 2,000 mg twice per day.
92% of the patients with swollen lymph nodes experiencing at
least a 50% reduction in the swelling. 33% of the patients have a
sustained reduction in absolute lymphocyte count of at least 20%. The
findings appear online ahead of print in the May 26, 2009 edition of
the Journal of Clinical Oncology.