Green Tea Polyphenol Helps Kill Oral Cancer Cells by Destroying Mitochondria

The green tea is such a powerful substance that it can even kill some forms of cancer like pancreatic and oral cancer. Recently, a newly performed study at the Penn State University revealed that the main antioxidant in green tea known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) efficiently kills cancer cells through the destruction of the cells’ mitochondria.

The conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation also efficiently kill the cancer cells, but along with the healthy ones which further on damages already fragile health of the patient. Due to this attack of healthy cells commonly found in the hair and the intestines, a hair loss occurs and frequent immune system-related illnesses. On the other hand, the use of green tea does not show such adverse effects.

The associate professor of food science at Penn State, Joshua Lambert, in a press release stated: “You don’t see these sorts of side effects with green tea consumption.”

Namely, Lambert and his team colleagues conducted a study by looking at cell cultures which were injected with the same amount of EGCG a normal person would have in the saliva after chewing green tea-flavored gum. There were quite a number of promising reactions.

Lambert elaborated: “It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria, and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species.”

In time mitochondria lose more of its defenses with a breakdown in the expression of antioxidant genes. In this weakened state the cancer cells entirely succumb to EGCG resulting in their death.

The EGCG showed this cancer-elimination property also in May last year when scientists from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) found out the ability of EGCG to prevent and slow the development of pancreatic cancer. LDHA is the key enzyme in pancreatic cancer cells which can be eliminated by the enzyme inhibitor oxamate. The researchers of LA BioMed in similar cultural tests discovered that EGCG rivaled oxamate in its destructive power.

Cancer so widely spreads that it is everyone’s goal in the scientific world to find a way how to eliminate this horrible disease. There are many forms of this disease which are rapidly rising especially in developing nations where the prevailing diet is based on dangerously processed foods. In the past, the breast cancer was the most dominant in the female gender, however nowadays the lung cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among women in the developed world. The rise of pancreatic cancer is also going high, namely out of 45,000 diagnoses each year in the U.S., 85% of cases have ended deadly.

This is a great breakthrough for Lambert and his research team, and now they strive to turn to animal models in order to see if there are any side effects of the use of EGCG. Provided that mitochondria continues to be eliminated in the presence of EGCG, the next step would be developing alternative therapies for oral cancer as that one does not rely on the wide-scoped forces of chemo.