Journal Article

Green tea intake, <i>MTHFR/TYMS</i> genotype and breast cancer risk: the Singapore Chinese Health Study

Maki Inoue, Kim Robien, Renwei Wang, David J. Van Den Berg, Woon-Puay Koh and Mimi C. Yu

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 29, issue 10, pages 1967-1972
Published in print October 2008 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Green tea intake, MTHFR/TYMS genotype and breast cancer risk: the Singapore Chinese Health Study

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The tea polyphenol (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has been reported to act as a cancer preventive agent through folate pathway inhibition in experimental studies. We hypothesized that if folate pathway inhibition is the mechanism of cancer preventive activities of EGCG, then the protective effect against breast cancer would be stronger among women with low dietary folate intake and the high-activity methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and thymidylate synthase (TYMS) genotypes. In a nested case–control study of 380 women with incident breast cancer and 662 controls within the Singapore Chinese Health Study, we found no association between either green tea intake or gene polymorphisms of MTHFR (C677T and A1298C) and TYMS (1494 ins/del) and breast cancer risk. However, among women with low folate intake (<133.4 μg/day), weekly/daily green tea intake was inversely associated with breast cancer risk compared with less green tea intake [odds ratio (OR) = 0.45, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.26–0.79, P for interaction = 0.02]. Among women with high folate intake (≥133.4 μg/day), green tea intake was not associated with breast cancer. Similarly, among women possessing the high-activity MTHFR/TYMS genotypes (0–1 variant allele), weekly/daily versus less frequent green tea intake was associated with lower breast cancer risk (OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.45–0.98), which was observed even more strongly among those who also had low folate intake (OR = 0.44, 95% CI = 0.22–0.89) than high folate intake (OR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.55–1.54). This association was not observed among women possessing the low-activity genotypes (2–4 variant alleles). Our findings suggest that folate pathway inhibition may be one mechanism through which green tea protects against breast cancer in humans.

Journal Article.  4306 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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