Risk of gastric cancer unrelated to green tea consumption




N Engl J Med

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Gastric cancer or cancer of the stomach, has historically been the leading cause of cancer related death throughout the world, when in the mid 1980's stomach cancer was surpassed by lung cancer as the leading cancer killer. Stomach cancer rates are the highest in eastern Asia then Eastern Europe and Latin America with the lowest rates in Western Europe and the United States.1 Due to the varied incidence of stomach cancer throughout the world, certain dietary factors have been noted to an increased risk of stomach cancer, other dietary factors may actually decrease it. High dietary consumption of pickled vegetables, seafood, fish sauce, moldy cereals, and leftovers among others have been linked to increased rates of gastric cancer.2,3 On the other hand, consumption of green tea may actually reduce the risk of stomach cancer.4,5,6
Although laboratory experiments and case-control studies have suggested that the consumption of green tea provides protection against gastric cancer, few studies have been performed prior to the development of stomach cancer. According to the results of a study in Japan, consumption of green tea was found to not be associated with the risk of gastric cancer. The researchers observed that this relationship was not greatly changed by other variables, including smoking, current use of alcohol, and the daily diet. The study was conducted in a region with a high incidence of gastric cancer and large variation in the use of green tea. Included were 26,311 individuals, followed between 1984 and 1992. The results of this study are part of the strongest evidence to date that there is no association between green-tea consumption and the risk of gastric cancer. The researchers suggest that, while there is no reason to discontinue drinking green tea, there should be no expectation that this practice will reduce the risk of stomach (gastric) cancer.7


1. National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health. Stomach Cancer, Statistics. Available at http://cancernet.nci.nih.gov/seer/Gastric_cancer.html. Accessed October 23, 2001.
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