Green tea halts effectiveness of cancer drug says new study
Green tea may reduce the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug, research suggests.
The new findings are shocking because green tea is popular with cancer patients seeking to boost their recovery chances, as it contains a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent tumours growing.
Researchers had set out to see whether combining green tea and cancer drug bortezomib (otherwise known as Velcade), might boost the cancer-fighting properties to two types of cancer – multiple myeloma, which affects blood cells, and malignant brain tumours.
But experiments showed that instead of killing more cancer cells, the treatments actually cancelled each other out.
‘We saw 100% inactivation of bortezomib at levels easily achieved by patients who take green tea supplements, and possibly those who drink large amounts of tea,’ said cancer biologist Axel Schönthal of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who led the study.
The finding may help explain why Velcade is ineffective in roughly one-third of patients.
Dr Schonthal added, though, that the results applied specifically to Velcade and not to other cancer drugs.
‘Green tea extract may actually improve the anti-cancer effects of other drugs,’ he added.