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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) and cancer prevention: a systematic review of randomized trials and epidemiological studies

Jianping Liu123*, Jianmin Xing1 and Yutong Fei1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, PR China

2 National Research Centre in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM), University of Tromso, Norway

3 Division of Chinese Medicine, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

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Chinese Medicine 2008, 3:12  doi:10.1186/1749-8546-3-12

Published: 22 October 2008

Abstract

Background

Green tea is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. This review summarizes the beneficial effects of green tea on cancer prevention.

Methods

Electronic databases, including PubMed (1966–2008), the Cochrane Library (Issue 1, 2008) and Chinese Biomedical Database (1978–2008) with supplement of relevant websites, were searched. There was no language restriction. The searches ended at March 2008. We included randomized and non-randomized clinical trials, epidemiological studies (cohort and case-control) and a meta-analysis. We excluded case series, case reports, in vitro and animal studies. Outcomes were measured with estimation of relative risk, hazard or odd ratios, with 95% confidence interval.

Results

Forty-three epidemiological studies, four randomized trials and one meta-analysis were identified. The overall quality of these studies was evaluated as good or moderate. While some evidence suggests that green tea has beneficial effects on gastrointestinal cancers, the findings are not consistent.

Conclusion

Green tea may have beneficial effects on cancer prevention. Further studies such as large and long term cohort studies and clinical trials are warranted.