Inhibition of lung tumorigenesis by tea

Chung S. Yang*, Jie Liao, Guang Yu Yang, Gary Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Tea and tea constituents have been shown by different investigators to inhibit lung tumorigenesis in different animal model systems. This includes lung tumorigenesis in A/J mice induced by 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1- butanone (NNK), N-nitrosodiethylamine, benzo[a]pyrene, N-nitrosomethylurea, or cisplatin. Inhibition of lung tumorigenesis has also been demonstrated in C3H mice treated with N-nitrosodiethylamine. In most of these experiments, reduction in tumor number and tumor size has been observed in the tea-treated group, and in some experiments, decreased tumor incidence has also been observed. The green tea constituent, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), and the black tea constituent, theaflavins, have also been shown to be effective. Black tea preparations have been shown to reduce the incidence and number of spontaneously generated lung adenocarcinomas and rhabdomyosarcoma in A/J mice, as well as inhibit the progression of lung adenoma to adenocarcinoma. The mechanisms for the inhibitory action have not been well elucidated. It may be related to the antiproliferative, proapoptotic, and antiangiogenic activities of tea constituents that have been demonstrated in some experiments. These activities may be a result of the inhibition of key protein kinases involved in signal transduction and cell cycle regulation. Tea catechins, such as EGCG, have been suggested to be the effective components. However, a study suggests that caffeine is the key effective constituent for the inhibitory activity of lung tumorigenesis in Fisher 344 rats by black tea. In many of the experiments, tea consumption resulted in the reduction of body fat and body weight; these factors may also contribute to the inhibition of tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Lung Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Black tea
  • Green tea
  • Lung
  • Tea polyphenols
  • Tumorigenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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