Chemoprevention of dibenzo[ a , l ]pyrene transplacental carcinogenesis in mice born to mothers administered green tea: primary role of caffeine Academic Article uri icon


  • Our laboratory recently developed a mouse model of transplacental induction of lymphoma, lung and liver cancer by the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, dibenzo[a,l]pyrene (DBP). Pregnant B6129SF1 females, bred to 129S1/SvIm males, were treated on day 17 of gestation with an oral dose of 15 mg/kg DBP. Beginning on day 0 of gestation, dams were given (ad lib) buffered water, 0.5% green tea, 0.5% decaffeinated green tea, caffeine or epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) (both at equivalent concentrations found in tea). The concentration of the teas (and corresponding caffeine and EGCG) was increased to 1.0% upon entering the second trimester, 1.5% at onset of the third trimester and continued at 1.5% until pups were weaned at 21 days of age. Offspring were raised with normal drinking water and AIN93G diet. Beginning at 2 months of age, offspring experienced significant mortalities due to an aggressive T-cell lymphoma as seen in our previous studies. Ingestion of caffeinated, but not decaffeinated, green tea provided modest but significant protection (P = 0.03) against mortality. Caffeine provided a more robust (P = 0.006) protection, but EGCG was without effect. Offspring also developed DBP-dependent lung adenomas. All treatments significantly reduced lung tumor multiplicity relative to controls (P < 0.02). EGCG was most effective at decreasing tumor burden (P = 0.005) by on average over 40% compared with controls. Induction of Cytochrome P450 (Cyp)1b1 in maternal liver may reduce bioavailability of DBP to the fetus as a mechanism of chemoprevention. This is the first demonstration that maternal ingestion of green tea, during pregnancy and nursing, provides protection against transplacental carcinogenesis.

author list (cited authors)

  • Castro, D. J., Yu, Z., Löhr, C. V., Pereira, C. B., Giovanini, J. N., Fischer, K. A., ... Williams, D. E.

citation count

  • 28

publication date

  • July 2008