Multidrug resistance and various adverse side effects have long been major problems in cancer chemotherapy. Recently, chemotherapy has gradually transitioned from mono-substance therapy to multidrug therapy. As a result, the drug cocktail strategy has gained more recognition and wider use. It is believed that properly-formulated drug combinations have greater therapeutic efficacy than single drugs. Tea is a popular beverage consumed by cancer patients and the general public for its perceived health benefits. The major bioactive molecules in green tea are catechins, a class of flavanols. The combination of green tea extract or green tea catechins and anticancer compounds has been paid more attention in cancer treatment. Previous studies demonstrated that the combination of chemotherapeutic drugs and green tea extract or tea polyphenols could synergistically enhance treatment efficacy and reduce the adverse side effects of anticancer drugs in cancer patients. In this review, we summarize the experimental evidence regarding the effects of green tea-derived polyphenols in conjunction with chemotherapeutic drugs on anti-tumor activity, toxicology, and pharmacokinetics. We believe that the combination of multidrug cancer treatment with green tea catechins may improve treatment efficacy and diminish negative side effects.
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