Epidemiologic, preclinical, and clinical trials suggest that green tea consumption may prevent prostate cancer through the action of green tea polyphenols including (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). To study the metabolism and bioactivity of green tea polyphenols in human prostate tissue, men with clinically localized prostate cancer consumed six cups of green tea (n = 8) daily or water (n = 9) for 3 to 6 weeks before undergoing radical prostatectomy. Using high-performance liquid chromatography, 4″-O-methyl EGCG (4″-MeEGCG) and EGCG were identified in comparable amounts, and (−)-epicatechin-3-gallate was identified in lower amounts in prostatectomy tissue from men consuming green tea (38.9 ± 19.5, 42.1 ± 32.4, and 17.8 ± 10.1 pmol/g tissue, respectively). The majority of EGCG and other green tea polyphenols were not conjugated. Green tea polyphenols were not detected in prostate tissue or urine from men consuming water preoperatively. In the urine of men consuming green tea, 50% to 60% of both (−)-epigallocatechin and (−)-epicatechin were present in methylated form with 4′-O-MeEGC being the major methylated form of (−)-epigallocatechin. When incubated with EGCG, LNCaP prostate cancer cells were able to methylate EGCG to 4″-MeEGCG. The capacity of 4″-MeEGCG to inhibit proliferation and NF-κB activation and induce apoptosis in LNCaP cells was decreased significantly compared with EGCG. In summary, methylated and nonmethylated forms of EGCG are detectable in prostate tissue following a short-term green tea intervention, and the methylation status of EGCG may potentially modulate its preventive effect on prostate cancer, possibly based on genetic polymorphisms of catechol O-methyltransferase. Cancer Prev Res; 3(8); OF1–9. ©2010 AACR.
- Received October 1, 2009.
- Revision received December 21, 2009.
- Accepted January 13, 2010.
- ©2010 American Association for Cancer Research.