WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
Jan. 26, 2010 -- An extract from green tea may be useful in treating uterine
fibroids, a condition that affects 25%-30% of U.S. women, new research
Fibroids of the uterus, a condition called uterine leiomyoma, can be
debilitating, leading to excessive vaginal bleeding, anemia, and fatigue.
Dong Zhang, MD, and colleagues from Meharry Medical College in Nashville,
Tenn., say they've found that an extract of green tea could kill uterine
fibroid cells in test tube studies and reduce the size and weight of fibroids
Their work is published this week in the American Journal of Obstetrics
The researchers injected 20 mice with fibroid cells. Ten mice were given
epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) mixed with their water, and 10 mice were given
plain water. EGCG is a polyphenol in green tea and is a compound found in
vegetables and fruits.
The mice were followed for up to eight weeks. At both four weeks and eight
weeks after treatment, fibroid growths were smaller and weighed less. The
researchers note that one mouse in the EGCG group had no tumor seen at the end
of eight weeks.
In test tube studies with rodent fibroid cells, cells treated with EGCG grew
more slowly and were smaller after 48-72 hours. EGCG also prompted
fibroid cell death. The researchers write that it is "highly encouraging that,
in our work, a relatively modest dose of EGCG ... that was delivered in
drinking water was successful in inducing a dramatic and sustained reduction in
fibroid tumor size up to eight weeks after treatment."
The researchers say their study suggests that EGCG "might be particularly
useful for long-term use in women with a low fibroid tumor burden to arrest
tumor progression and avoid the development of severe symptoms that necessitate
Ayman Al-Hendy, MD, PhD director of Clinical Research at Meharry, says in
the news release that women who suffer from uterine fibroids may lose time from
work, have higher medical bills, and might need advanced treatment in order to
The condition disproportionately affects African-American women, who are
four times more likely to have fibroid tumors than women from other ethnic
The researchers say they are now recruiting participants for human
SOURCES:News release, Meharry Medical College.Zhang, D. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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