An active ingredient in green tea may be capable of reducing the number of cancerous cells in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to a phase 2 trial recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) annual meeting.
Lead author Tait Shanafelt and his colleagues from the Mayo Clinic undertook the study after discovering that the compound—known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)—was able to safely kill off leukemia cells in a lab setting. The current study represents the first time the extract has been used in a human trial, according to Health Day News.
For the research, Shanafelt and his team recruited 42 early stage CLL patients and assigned them to receive high-level doses of EGCG for a period of six months. At the point of follow-up, nearly one-third of patients experienced at least a 20 percent reduction in blood leukemia count. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of those with enlarged lymph nodes saw a significant reduction in node size.
"Without a phase III clinical trial, we cannot make a recommendation that EGCG be used by CLL patients, but those who want to take supplements should consult with their oncologists and need to receive appropriate monitoring using laboratory tests," said co-author Neil Kay.