Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Clinical Research

Reduced prostate cancer risk with green tea and epigallocatechin 3-gallate intake among Hong Kong Chinese men



In vitro and in vivo studies suggested that polyphenol epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG) in tea may have anti-carcinogenic effect on prostate cells, but this protective effect has less been examined in epidemiology studies. We aimed to investigate the association between prostate cancer (PCA) risk and habitual green tea intake among Chinese men in Hong Kong; meanwhile, the relationship with EGCG was also explored.


We consecutively recruited 404 PCA cases and 395 controls from the same hospital who had complete data on habitual tea consumption, including green, oolong, black and pu’er tea. We reconstructed the level of EGCG intake according to a standard questionnaire and the analytic values for EGCG extracted from the literature published by Lin et al. in 2003. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) for tea consumption and EGCG intake using unconditional multiple logistic regression, and examined their exposure–-response relationships with PCA risk.


A total of 32 cases and 50 controls reported habitual green tea drinking, showing an adjusted OR of 0.60 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.37, 0.98). A moderate excess risk was observed among the habitual pu’er tea drinkers (OR=1.44, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.91). A significantly lower intake of EGCG was observed among cases (54.4 mg) than the controls (72.5 mg), which resulted in an inverse gradient of PCA risk with the increasing intake of EGCG (test for trend, P=0.015).


PCA risk among Chinese men in Hong Kong was inversely associated with green tea consumption and EGCG intake, but these results need to be replicated in larger studies.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Department of Health Screening for Prostate Cancer: Iinformation for Men and Their Family. Department of Health: Hong Kong, China, 2013.

  2. Hong Kong Cancer Fund Latest Cancer Statistics. Hong Kong Cancer Fund: Hong Kong, China, 2012.

  3. American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer Overview. American Cancer Society: Atlanta, GA, USA, 2016.

  4. Jian L, Xie LP, Lee AH, Binns CW . Protective effect of green tea against prostate cancer: a case-control study in southeast China. Int J Cancer 2004; 108: 130–135.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Kurahashi N, Sasazuki S, Iwasaki M, Inoue M, Tsugane S, Group JS . Green tea consumption and prostate cancer risk in Japanese men: a prospective study. Am J Epidemiol 2008; 167: 71–77.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Lin YS, Tsai YJ, Tsay JS, Lin JK . Factors affecting the levels of tea polyphenols and caffeine in tea leaves. J Agric Food Chem 2003; 51: 1864–1873.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Peterson J, Dwyer J, Bhagwat S, Haytowitz D, Holden J, Eldridge AL et al. Major flavonoids in dry tea. J Food Compost Anal 2005; 18: 487–501.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Ren F, Zhang S, Mitchell SH, Butler R, Young CY . Tea polyphenols down-regulate the expression of the androgen receptor in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Oncogene 2000; 19: 1924–1932.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Yang CS, Chung JY, Yang G, Chhabra SK, Lee MJ . Tea and tea polyphenols in cancer prevention. J Nutr 2000; 130: 472S–478S.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Geybels MS, Neuhouser ML, Stanford JL . Associations of tea and coffee consumption with prostate cancer risk. Cancer Causes Control 2013; 24: 941–948.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Brausi M, Rizzi F, Bettuzzi S . Chemoprevention of human prostate cancer by green tea catechins: Two years later. A follow-up update. Eur Urol 2008; 54: 472–473.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Kumar NB, Pow-Sang J, Egan KM, Spiess PE, Dickinson S, Salup R et al. Randomized, placebo-controlled trial of green tea catechins for prostate cancer prevention. Cancer Prevent Res 2015; 8: 879–887.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Kikuchi N, Ohmori K, Shimazu T, Nakaya N, Kuriyama S, Nishino Y et al. No association between green tea and prostate cancer risk in Japanese men: the Ohsaki Cohort Study. Br J Cancer 2006; 95: 371–373.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Ellison LF . Tea and other beverage consumption and prostate cancer risk: a Canadian retrospective cohort study. Eur J Cancer Prev 2000; 9: 125–130.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Montague JA, Butler LM, Wu AH, Genkinger JM, Koh WP, Wong AS et al. Green and black tea intake in relation to prostate cancer risk among Singapore Chinese. Cancer Causes Control 2012; 23: 1635–1641.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Hospital Authority Hong Kong Cancer Registry. Hospital Authority: Honk Kong, China, 2013.

  17. Bhagwat S, Haytowitz D . USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods Release 32. United States Department of Agriculture Food Composition Databases: USA, 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Kelsey JL, Whittemore AS, Evans AS, Thompson WD . Methods in Observational Epidemiology. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 1996.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Balentine DA, Wiseman SA, Bouwens LC . The chemistry of tea flavonoids. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 1997; 37: 693–704.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Jeng KC, Chen CS, Fang YP, Hou RC, Chen YS . Effect of microbial fermentation on content of statin, GABA, and polyphenols in Pu-Erh tea. J Agric Food Chem 2007; 55: 8787–8792.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Chen JL, Li WX, Yang GY, Zhou ZT, Zhu W, Liu HZ . Biological contamination of Puer tea in Guangzhou tea market. Carcinogenesis Teratogens Mutagenesis 2010; 23: 68–71.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Hong Kong Observatory Climate of Hong Kong. Hong Kong Observatory: Hong Kong, China, 2015.

  23. Copeland KT, Checkoway H, McMichael AJ, Holbrook RH . Bias due to misclassification in the estimation of relative risk. Am J Epidemiol 1977; 105: 488–495.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Lee MJ, Wang ZY, Li H, Chen L, Sun Y, Gobbo S et al. Analysis of plasma and urinary tea polyphenols in human subjects. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1995; 4: 393–399.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Yang CS, Chen L, Lee MJ, Balentine D, Kuo MC, Schantz SP . Blood and urine levels of tea catechins after ingestion of different amounts of green tea by human volunteers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1998; 7: 351–354.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


The report was substantially supported by a grant from the Health and Medical Research Fund of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China; Project No. 11121091 and 12131081. The funding source had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis or interpretation of the findings. Sincere thanks also go to our research staffs (Miss Jenny Yip Siu Ying and Miss Tess Tsoi Hui Man) for their data collection.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to L A Tse.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on the Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases website

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lee, P., Ng, C., Liu, Z. et al. Reduced prostate cancer risk with green tea and epigallocatechin 3-gallate intake among Hong Kong Chinese men. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 20, 318–322 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links