Green Tea for Leukemia
Republished with permission of Natural Standards Research Collaboration ©2009

Mayo Clinic researchers have found that a compound in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) may have beneficial effects in patients with chonic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

CLL is one of four types of leukemia, which affects the blood and bone marrow. CLL typically progresses more slowly than other types of leukemia, and it is most common among adults who are 50 years of age or older.

In the Phase I clinical trial, 33 adults with CLL received eight different doses of Polyphenon E, a substance made from decaffeinated green tea that contains EGCG. Participants received 400-2,000 milligrams of Polyphenon E twice daily for one month.

According to the results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the supplement was well tolerated, and high doses helped decrease the white blood cells counts in one-third of patients with CLL, indicating cancer regression. Additionally, most people who had enlarged lymph nodes at the start of the study experienced at least a 50 percent reduction in lymph node size.

The research is now undergoing a second phase of clinical testing in which CLL patients will each receive 2,000 milligrams of Polyphenon E twice daily.


Shanafelt TD, Call TG, Zent CS, Laplant B, Bowen DA, Roos M, Secreto CR, Ghosh AK, Kabat BF, Lee MJ, Yang CS, Jelinek DF, Erlichman C, Kay NE. Phase I Trial of Daily Oral Polyphenon E in Patients With Asymptomatic Rai Stage 0 to II Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2009 May 26.

This article appeared in the June 2009 issue of the Integrative Medicine Newsletter published by Natural Standard.