Oolong tea extract may stave off breast cancer

Image result for Oolong tea

By Ana Sandoiu 

Fact checked by Isabel Godfrey
New research finds that oolong
tea can damage breast cancer cells and that people who consume large amounts of
this tea have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
Despite recent advances in
screening procedures and treatment, breast cancer remains both the most common
form of this disease and the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
According to estimates by the
American Cancer Society, more than 250,000 women in the United States developed
breast cancer in 2017, and more than 40,000 died as a result.
In this context, researchers
are still in need of more effective prevention and treatment strategies.
Moreover, given the side effects of chemotherapy, the need for nontoxic
alternatives is also dire.
With these aims in mind,
scientists have investigated the potential benefits of green tea for breast
cancer and found that certain compounds have anti-cancer effects. However, few
studies have examined other types of tea and their role in breast cancer
Now, a study looks at the
potential benefits of oolong tea. Chunfa Huang, Ph.D., who is an associate
research professor in the department of internal medicine at Saint Louis
University in Missouri, led the new research.
Huang and colleagues published
their findings in the journal Anticancer Research.
tea damages breast cancer cells
Huang and team examined the
effect of oolong tea extract on six breast cancer cell lines, which included
ER-positive, PR-positive, HER2-positive, and triple-negative breast cancer
The researchers treated these
cells with different concentrations of green, oolong, black, and dark tea
Huang and team examined the
viability of the cells and measured the DNA damage and cleavage, as well as any
other changes in the morphology of the cells.
The extracts of green and
oolong tea stopped the growth of all types of breast cancer cell. In contrast,
black and dark tea extracts had no effect on the cells. Huang and team
“Oolong tea, same as
green tea, can induce DNA damage and cleavage, play an inhibitory role in
breast cancer cell growth, proliferation, and tumorigenesis, and [it has] great
potential as a chemopreventive agent against breast cancer.”
tea drinkers and breast cancer risk
Additionally, the scientists
examined annual cancer registry data from China and the Fujian province and found
that people in the latter area were 35 percent less likely to have breast
cancer and 38 percent less likely to die from it compared with the national
They also noted that people
who consumed large amounts of oolong tea on a regular basis were 25 percent
less likely to develop breast cancer compared with the average incidence in the
Fujian province and 50 percent less likely compared with the national average.
Finally, compared with the
national average, high consumers of oolong tea were 68 percent less likely to
die prematurely.
“It is clear that more
study is needed,” Huang says. However, “[t]he lower incidence and
mortality in regions with higher oolong tea consumption indicate that oolong
tea has great potential for its anti-cancer properties.”
“From our results,”
concludes Huang, “oolong tea, much like green tea, plays a role in
inhibiting breast cancer cell growth, proliferation, and tumor
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.