A Good Marriage and Green Tea Might Help Fight Prostate Cancer

Jan. 29, 2015

In two unrelated studies, Rochester researchers investigated prostate cancer with results pointing to the benefits of strong support at home and sipping green with tea cup

The green tea investigation, led by Thomas A. Gasiewicz, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine, shows why green tea extract (the main component being epigallocathechin gallate or EGCG) might have anti-cancer properties, particularly for late-stage and metastatic prostate cancer. Although green tea has been investigated for years, the Rochester team believes this is the first study to offer a unifying hypothesis for a mechanism whereby EGCG has anti-cancer activity.

The study is published in Cancer Research Prevention. It also reports that green tea’s anti-cancer activity is likely due to its effect on a protein pathway known as HSP90 (heat shock protein 90), which has an important role in cancer progression.  Researchers believe that understanding this link may lay the foundation for developing a type of green tea analog that can target the function of HSP90 with few side effects.

The second study, published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship by lead author Gary R. Morrow, Ph.D., M.S., shows that married prostate cancer survivors with a high level of partner support reported much less psychological distress than unmarried survivors or those with low levels of partner support.

The implication for physicians: it’s important to assess and consider marital status and partner support when evaluating a patient’s psychosocial functioning, when deciding on an intervention, or when trying to better understand factors that impact survivorship and quality of life.