John Libbey Eurotext

Bulletin du Cancer

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Multiple actions of EGCG, the main component of green tea Volume 86, issue 9, Septembre 1999

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Centre de biochimie CNRS/Inserm, Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Parc Valrose, 06108 Nice Cedex 2.

Green tea, the most popular beverage in Japan and China, contains epicatechin-derived compounds which have been characterized in some epidemiological studies as having protective effects against cancer. Epigallo catechin-O-gallate (EGCG), the most active epicatechin in green tea was previously found to block the in vitro growth of many cancer cell lines and in vivo to strongly reduce tumor growth in cancer-bearing animals. Today, green tea consumption by animals is shown to markedly reduce VEGF-induced angiogenesis, a neo-vascularization process occurring in several physio-pathological conditions. EGCG is also able to inhibit endothelial cell growth in vitro and angiogenesis process in vivo. Elsewhere, EGCG has been described as a potent inducer of apoptosis and an inhibitor of telomerase activity. Because EGCG is acting on different processes, it could trigger various molecular mechanisms of action. Its anti-oxydant properties could explain its antagonistic action in some inflammatory processes. In summary, although no direct molecular target has been so far elucidated for EGCG, the multi-potentialities of this molecule, along with its broad biodisponibility, render it very attractive as a putative curative drug for various diseases such as dermatosis, gout, atherosclerosis and cancer.