Green Tea May Save Smokers From Themselves

The effects of smoking on lung cancer may be mitigated by drinking green tea. The results of this new, random study that was undertaken in a Taiwan hospital were given in a presentation to the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer in January 2010.

Inhibitory Activity The author of this study, I-Hsin Lin, M.S., who studies at Taiwan’s Chung Shan Medical University said, “Lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths in Taiwan. Tea, particularly green tea, has received a great deal of attention because tea polyphenols are strong antioxidants, and tea preparations have shown inhibitory activity against tumorigenesis.”

Lin and his research team found 170 patients with lung cancer to take part in this study and as a control group, enrolled 340 healthy participants. Lin and his colleagues distributed questionnaires in an effort to cover any variables and factors such as demographics, smoking habits, dietary intake for vegetables and fruit, cooking habits, family history for lung cancer, and green tea consumption. The scientists also conducted genotyping of the insulin-like growth factors: IGF1, IGF2 and IGFBP3, all of which are known to be linked to a higher risk for cancer.

Green Brew In both the smokers and the non-smokers, those who were not green tea drinkers were found to have a 5.16-fold rise in their risk for lung cancer in comparison with those who imbibed a minimum of one cup of the green brew daily. Smokers who were not green tea drinkers had a 12.71-fold rise in their risk for lung cancer compared to those who drank a minimum of one cup per day of green tea.

Lin and his team think that genetics may come into play regarding the difference in risk rates between the various groups. Those green tea drinkers who had non-susceptible IGF1 (CA)19/(CA)19 and (CA)19/X genotypes lowered their risk for lung cancer by 66% in comparison with the green tea drinks who had the IGF1 X/X genotype.

Good Environment Heavy smokers possessed of the more susceptible IGF1, IGF2 and IGFBP3 genotypes held a higher risk for lung cancer in comparison with nonsmokers who carried the less susceptible IGF1, IGF2 and IGFBP3 genotypes. Nonetheless, Lin feels the results of this study offer a clue that lung cancer exacerbated by smoking might be mitigated by drinking green tea when the growth factor environment is a good one.