Green tee changes metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells

green teaGreen tea is well known for its antioxidant activities. A recent study published in the journal Metabolomics has specified that green tea, specifically through EGCG, (a major biological active constituent of green tea), impacts on the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells by suppressing the expression of LDHA, an enzyme associated with cancer. Another enzyme oxamate was also discovered to operate in the same manner by inhibiting LDHA activity and disrupted the pancreatic cancer cells metabolic system.

“Scientists had believed they needed a molecular mechanism to treat cancer, but this study shows that they can change the metabolic system and have an impact on cancer,” said Wai-Nang Lee, MD, corresponding author of the study and a Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) lead researcher. “By explaining how green tea’s active component could prevent cancer, this study will open the door to a whole new area of cancer research and help us understand how other foods can prevent cancer or slow the growth of cancerous cells.”

The researchers discovered that EGCG disrupted the balance of the cellular metabolic network, by disrupting the rate of turnover of molecules through a metabolic pathway. EGCG essentially acts in the same manner as oxamate by inhibiting the LDHA enzyme and represents a new method of reducing the risk of cancer by suppressing the activity of LDHA a critical enzyme in cancer metabolism.

“This is an entirely new way of looking at metabolism,” said Dr. Lee. “It is no longer a case of glucose goes in and energy comes out. Now we understand how cancer cell metabolism can be disrupted, and we can examine how we can use this knowledge to try to alter the course of cancer or prevent cancer.”


Qing-Yi Lu, Lifeng Zhang, Jennifer K. Yee, Vay-Liang W. Go, Wai-Nang Lee. Metabolic consequences of LDHA inhibition by epigallocatechin gallate and oxamate in MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells. Metabolomics, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s11306-014-0672-8

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