Inhibitory effect of six green tea catechins and caffeine on the growth of four selected human tumor cell lines

Susanne Valcic, Barbara N. Timmermann, David S. Alberts, Gerald A. Wächter, Mary Krutzsch, Julie Wymer, José M. Guillén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Scopus citations


Green tea is air aqueous infusion of dried unfermented leaves of Camellia sinensis (family Theaceae) from which numerous biological activities have been reported including antimutagenic, antibacterial, hypocholesterolemic, antioxidant, antitumor and cancer preventive activities. From the aqueous-alcoholic extract of green tea leaves, six compounds (+)-gallacatechin (GC), (-)-epicatechin (EC), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), (-)-epicatechin gallate (ECG), (-)-epigallocatechin gatlate (EGCG) and caffeine, were isolated and purified. Together with (+)-catechin, these compounds were tested against each of four human tumor cell lines (MCF-7 breast carcinoma, HT-29 colon carcinoma, A-427 lung carcinoma and UACC-375 melanoma). The three most potent green tea components against all four tumor cell lines were EGCG, GC and EGG. EGCG was the most potent of the seven green tea components against three out of the four cell lines (i.e. MCF-7 breast cancer, HT-29 colon cancer and UACC-375 melanoma). On the basis of these extensive in vitro studies, it would be of considerable interest to evaluate all three of these components in comparative preclinical in vivo animal tumor model systems before final decisions are made concerning which of these potential chemopreventive drugs should be taken into broad clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
JournalAnti-cancer drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Camellia sinensis
  • Catechins
  • Green tea components
  • Growth inhibitory activity
  • Human tumor cell lines
  • Isolation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Cancer Research


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