Drinking green tea could reduce the risk of lung cancer from smoking, says a new study.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths in Taiwan,” said I-Hsin Lin, a student at Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan, who conducted the study.

“Tea, particularly green tea, has received a great deal of attention because tea polyphenols are strong antioxidants, and tea preparations have shown inhibitory activity against tumorigenesis (production of new tumour),” added Lin.

Lin and colleagues enrolled 170 patients with lung cancer and 340 healthy patients as controls.

They administered questionnaires to obtain demographic characteristics, cigarette smoking habits, green tea consumption, dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, cooking practices and family history of lung cancer.

Among smokers and non-smokers, those who did not drink green tea had a 5.16-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day.

Among smokers, those who did not drink green tea at all had a 12.71-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day.

Lin and colleagues suspect genetics may play a role in this risk differential, says a release of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Our study may represent a clue that in the case of lung cancer, smoking-induced carcinogenesis could be modulated by green tea consumption and the growth factor environment,” said Lin.

The study was presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer, being held Jan 11-14.

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