Green tea and the question of reduced liver cancer risk: the dawn of potential clinical relevance?
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a high incidence and prevalence in some Asian countries and is a major preventable disease. A meta-analysis published in this journal by Huang et al. (1) analyzed the chemopreventive potential of green tea in these Asian regions. Cumulative tea consumption, in the highest consumption range (>5 cups per day), the relative risk (RR) was reduced by 22%, with significance only for women, not in men. Results are confined to Asia, as studies from Western countries were not included. This limited effect in a subpopulation of Asian women does not allow a general recommendation for green tea as an HCC preventive. Other effective measures must be pursued including screening for, and vaccination against hepatitis, antiviral treatment, reducing alcohol and high caloric consumption, and avoiding smoking and food contaminated with aflatoxins.