Green Tea, Vitamin C, Chemo Fight Mesothelioma ‘Synergistically’

Another study has found that the beneficial compounds in green tea may be powerful mesothelioma fighters – especially when combined with other drugs and nutrients.

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant polyphenol in green tea and is a potent antioxidant. A number of studies have suggested that it may help the body combat various types of cancer, including mesothelioma. Recently, a group of Italian mesothelioma researchers combined EGCG with Vitamin C and a chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine to create a treatment combination called AND (Active Nutrients/Drug).

To test the mixture, they administered AND to various mesothelioma cell lines in the laboratory. The result was a “synergistic cytotoxic mechanism”, meaning the ingredients in AND seemed to increase each other’s cancer-fighting properties in a way that was toxic to mesothelioma cells. When they tried the mixture on mice that had been artificially induced to develop mesothelioma, both their primary tumors and the number of ‘seed’ tumors or metastases shrunk. AND also appeared to prevent abdominal hemorrhage. Best of all, mesothelioma mice treated with AND lived longer.

“Kaplan Meier curves and the log-rank test indicated a marked increase in the survival of AND-treated animals,” write the study’s authors. Laboratory analysis of the dissected tumors showed that AND worked by triggering a shift from cell growth and proliferation to cell death in the mesothelioma cells. Together, the compounds in AND were found to interfere with the expression of certain critical genes and proteins in the cancer cells. In an article on their findings in the online open-access medical journal PLoS One, the Milano, Italy-based research team proposes AND as a new mesothelioma treatment.

The new AND study builds on several previous research efforts. A Japanese study on EGCG released in February found that the compound had the power to induce the cell degradation process called autophagy as well as apoptosis (cell death) in all five of the mesothelioma cell lines tested. In 2010, some of the same researchers found that high doses of Vitamin C had the same effect both in the lab and in mesothelioma tumors in living mice. Several studies have confirmed the value of the third compound, the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine, in the treatment of mesothelioma.

Note: If you are interested in using green tea and/or Vitamin C as a therapy be sure to speak with your licensed healthcare provider.


Volta, V et al, “Preclinical demonstration of synergistic active nutrients/drug (AND) combination as a potential treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma”, March 6, 2013, PLoS One.
Satoh, M et al, “EGCG induces human mesothelioma cell death by inducing reactive oxygen species and autophagy”, February 13, 2013, Cancer Cell International.
Takemura, Y et al, “High dose of ascorbic acid induces cell death in mesothelioma cells”, April 2, 2012, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communication, pp. 249-253.

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