Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Tea consumption and the risk of five major cancers: a dose–response meta-analysis of prospective studies

Feifei Yu1, Zhichao Jin1, Hong Jiang1, Chun Xiang1, Jianyuan Tang2, Tuo Li3 and Jia He1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Statistics, Second Military Medical University, 800 Xiangyin Road, Shanghai 200433, China

2 Office of compliance and Development, Center for drug evaluation, China food and drug administration, Shanghai, China

3 Department of Endocrinology, Changzheng Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200003, China

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:197  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-197

Published: 17 March 2014



We conducted a dose–response meta-analysis of prospective studies to summarize evidence of the association between tea consumption and the risk of breast, colorectal, liver, prostate, and stomach cancer.


We searched PubMed and two other databases. Prospective studies that reported risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of cancer risk for ≥3 categories of tea consumption were included. We estimated an overall RR with 95% CI for an increase of three cups/day of tea consumption, and, usingrestricted cubic splines, we examined a nonlinear association between tea consumption and cancer risk.


Forty-one prospective studies, with a total of 3,027,702 participants and 49,103 cancer cases, were included. From the pooled overall RRs, no inverse association between tea consumption and risk of five major cancers was observed. However, subgroup analysis showed that increase in consumption of three cups of black tea per day was a significant risk factor for breast cancer (RR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.05-1.32).


Ourresults did not show a protective role of tea in five major cancers. Additional large prospective cohort studies are needed to make a convincing case for associations.

Tea consumption; Dose–response; Meta-analysis; Cancer