Urinary biomarkers of catechins and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in the shanghai cohort study

Lesley M. Butler, Joyce Yongxu Huang, Renwei Wang, Mao Jun Lee, Chung S. Yang, Yu Tang Gao, Jian Min Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Dietary catechins are phytochemicals with both antioxidative and prooxidative stress properties. Green tea is a major source of catechins and may be associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk, but the catechin-HCC relationship has not been evaluated using a biomarker-based approach. A nested case-control study of HCC (211 cases and 1,067 matched controls) was conducted within the Shanghai Cohort Study, which enrolled 18,244 men between 1986 and 1989. Concentrations of specific catechins, including epicatechin, epigallocatechin (EGC), and 4′-O-methyl-epigallocatechin, were measured in urine specimens that had been collected prior to HCC diagnosis. None of the catechins measured were associated with HCC risk. In stratified analyses, there was a statistically significant trend for an association of higher urinary EGC with increased HCC risk among subjects with positive serology for hepatitis B surface antigen (P for trend = 0.02). This positive EGC-HCC association became stronger for hepatitis B surface antigen-positive persons who also had low serum retinol levels (for detectable levels vs. undetectable levels, odds ratio = 2.62, 95% confidence interval: 1.25, 5.51). There was no evidence supporting a protective role of catechins in the development of HCC. Instead, exposure to high levels of catechins may increase the risk of developing HCC for high-risk individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-405
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 8 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology


  • catechins
  • flavonoids
  • green tea
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • retinol


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