A new case study by Mayo Clinic researchers provides preliminary evidence to suggest a component of green tea may lead to clinical improvement in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Findings are published online in Leukemia Research.
In the small case study, the researchers report on four patients who appeared to have an improvement in the clinical state of their disease after starting over-the-counter products containing epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an extract of green tea. Three of the four patients met the standard criteria used to define a response treatment for clinical trials. These same investigators had previously shown that EGCG kills leukemia cells from patients with CLL in the test tube by interrupting the communication signals they need to survive. That study was published in Blood in 2004.
"The experience of these individuals provides some suggestion that our previously published laboratory findings may actually translate into clinical effects for patients with this disease," says Tait Shanafelt, M.D., Mayo Clinic hematologist and lead author of the article. Despite these encouraging preliminary findings, he urges caution. "We do not know how many patients were taking similar products and failed to have any benefit. We also do not yet know the optimal dose that should be used, the frequency with which patients should take the medication, and what side effects will be observed with long-term administration."
Elizabeth Zimmermann | EurekAlert!
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