The Association between Tea Consumption and Nasopharyngeal Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Document Type: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 Oncological and Radiological Sciences Cluster, Advanced Medical and Dental Institute, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 13200 Bertam, Kepala Batas, Pulau Pinang Malaysia.

2 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, 840001 Ebonyi state, Nigeria.

3 School of Distance Education, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.

4 Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, 117543 Singapore.


Heated debates have been on-going about tea consumption and the incidence of cancer, especially in head and neck cancer types. This study aimed to review the association between tea consumption habits and nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). Methods: This review was carried out in accordance with the PRISMA-P protocol. Literature search for journal articles that published studies on the relationship between tea consumption and NPC was performed via databases, such as Elsevier, PubMed, Science Direct, Springer Link, Google, and Google Scholar, for 10 years from 2008 to 2018. Relevant studies were obtained by applying the pre-determined keywords, such as nasopharyngeal cancer, tea consumption and NPC, risk factors of NPC and benefits of tea consumption. Results: A total of 126 articles was retrieved. These articles were subjected to eligibility assessment. Six articles remained after applying the inclusion criteria. Results suggest that habitual tea consumption reduces NPC. Tea consumption significantly reduces NPC with all the studies having a p-value ≤0.05. Meta-analysis showed statistical association between tea consumption and NPC risk with OR=0.865 at 95% CI (0.806-0.929). Conclusion: This study suggests that habitual tea consumption could be associated with prevention of NPC development. Additional studies are needed to further understand the molecular role of bioactive compound and potential health benefit of tea consumption in NPC prevention.


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