(NaturalNews) An extract made from one of the main antioxidants found in green tea may be able to slow the progression of prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers from Louisiana state University and published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Researchers gave 26 prostate cancer patients between the ages of 41 and 68's four capsules of day of Polyphenon E, an extract of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) made by Polyphenon Pharma. EGCG is a powerful antioxidant to which many of the health benefits of green tea have been attributed. The dosage given to the participants in the study was equivalent to that acquired from drinking 12 cups of green tea per day.
After 12 weeks, the researchers found that levels of the prostate cancer markers Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and prostate specific antigen (PSA) had fallen by an average of 18.9 percent, 9.9 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, indicating a slowed progression of the disease.
PSA is a marker of inflammation, and indicates disease severity in prostate cancer patients. HGF and VEGF are both produced by prostate tumors as they spread to other parts of the body.
In some patients, HGF and VEGF levels fell as much as 30 percent upon treatment with the EGCG extract.
The researchers were cautiously optimistic about the study findings.
"It's still in an early stage," researcher Jim Cardelli said. "Green tea can keep cancer from growing very fast, but it may not be able to shrink tumors. But it can be a good addition to traditional therapies, like chemo (chemotherapy) or radiation."
Researchers do not know whether the same effects could be seen in other cancers, but the antioxidants in green tea have previously been linked to a reduced risk of a variety of cancers, skin and autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular disease and inflammation.