A study on bladder cancer cell lines showed that green tea extract has potential as an anti-cancer agent, proving for the first time that it is able to target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. The study also uncovered more about how green tea extract works to counteract the development of cancer, said Jian Yu Rao, the study’s senior author.

“Our study adds a new dimension in understanding the mechanisms of green tea extract,” Rao said. “If we knew exactly how it works to inhibit the development of cancer, we could figure out more precisely which bladder cancer patients might benefit from taking it.”

Numerous studies have suggested that green tea extract provides strong anti-cancer effects in several human cancers, including bladder cancer. It has been shown to induce death in cancer cells, as well as inhibiting the development of an independent blood supply that cancers develop so they can grow and spread.

In the UCLA study, scientists were able to show that green tea extract interrupts a process that is crucial in allowing bladder cancer to become invasive and spread to other areas of the body.

“In effect, the green tea extract may keep the cancer cells confined and localized, where they are easier to treat and the prognosis is better,” Rao said. “Cancer cells are invasive and green tea extract interrupts the invasive process of the cancer.”

University of California, Los Angeles, Feb 16, 2005