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Case report
peer-reviewed

A Case of Complete and Durable Molecular Remission of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Following Treatment with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an Extract of Green Tea



Abstract

We report the case of a 48-year-old man who achieved a complete molecular remission 20 years after a diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia while using epigallicatechin-3-gallate, an extract of green tea. The patient presented at age 28 with lymphocytosis, mild anemia, mild thrombocytopenia, and massive splenomegaly, for which a splenectomy was performed. He was then followed expectantly. Over the next two decades, he suffered two symptomatic chronic lymphocytic leukemia-related events. The first occurred twelve years after diagnosis (at age 40) when the patient developed fevers, night sweats, and moderate anemia. He was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia secondary to chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The patient declined conventional therapy in favor of a diet, exercise, and supplement regimen, and recovered from the autoimmune hemolytic anemia though the underlying chronic lymphocytic leukemia remained evident. This is the first published case report of "spontaneous" recovery from secondary autoimmune hemolytic anemia in an adult. 

Over the second decade following chronic lymphocytic leukemia diagnosis, serial bone marrow biopsies demonstrated increasing lymphocytosis, with minimal peripheral lymphocytosis. However, twenty years after diagnosis, peripheral lymphocytosis accelerated, with white blood cell counts rising to 55,000/µL. Because the patient continued to refuse conventional therapy, he was treated instead with a supplement regimen that included high doses of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a green tea extract. Peripheral lymphocytosis resolved. More remarkably, a bone marrow examination, including flow cytometry, showed no evidence of a malignant clone. Two years later (at age 51), the peripheral blood and bone marrow were without molecular evidence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia or any malignancy. The patient remains well at age 52. 



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Case report
peer-reviewed

A Case of Complete and Durable Molecular Remission of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Following Treatment with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an Extract of Green Tea


Author Information

Dawn Lemanne Corresponding Author

Oncology, Oregon Integrative Oncology

Keith I. Block

Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Bruce R. Kressel

Medical Oncology/Hematology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Vikas P. Sukhatme

School of Medicine, BIDMC, Harvard Medical School

Jeffrey D. White

Director, Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Cancer Institute, US National Institutes of Health


Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Human subjects: This study did not involve human participants or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared the following conflicts of interest: Financial relationships: Dr. Sukhatme declare(s) a grant from Pfizer. Dr. Sukhatme declare(s) personal fees from Berg. Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Sukhatme declare(s) personal fees from Mitra. Scientific Advisory Board. Other relationships: Dr. Lemanne, without any compensation, assisted the patient referenced in this report in preparing a memoir that details the story of his recovery. The patient intends to publish his memoir in the lay press. Dr. Lemanne has declined all past and future compensation for this assistance. .


Case report
peer-reviewed

A Case of Complete and Durable Molecular Remission of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Following Treatment with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an Extract of Green Tea


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Case report
peer-reviewed

A Case of Complete and Durable Molecular Remission of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Following Treatment with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an Extract of Green Tea

  • Author Information
    Dawn Lemanne Corresponding Author

    Oncology, Oregon Integrative Oncology

    Keith I. Block

    Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago

    Bruce R. Kressel

    Medical Oncology/Hematology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

    Vikas P. Sukhatme

    School of Medicine, BIDMC, Harvard Medical School

    Jeffrey D. White

    Director, Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Cancer Institute, US National Institutes of Health


    Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

    Human subjects: This study did not involve human participants or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared the following conflicts of interest: Financial relationships: Dr. Sukhatme declare(s) a grant from Pfizer. Dr. Sukhatme declare(s) personal fees from Berg. Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Sukhatme declare(s) personal fees from Mitra. Scientific Advisory Board. Other relationships: Dr. Lemanne, without any compensation, assisted the patient referenced in this report in preparing a memoir that details the story of his recovery. The patient intends to publish his memoir in the lay press. Dr. Lemanne has declined all past and future compensation for this assistance. .

    Acknowledgements


    Article Information

    Published: December 29, 2015

    DOI

    10.7759/cureus.441

    Cite this article as:

    Lemanne D, Block K I, Kressel B R, et al. (December 29, 2015) A Case of Complete and Durable Molecular Remission of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Following Treatment with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an Extract of Green Tea. Cureus 7(12): e441. doi:10.7759/cureus.441

    Publication history

    Received by Cureus: November 02, 2015
    Peer review began: November 10, 2015
    Peer review concluded: December 21, 2015
    Published: December 29, 2015

    Copyright

    © Copyright 2015
    Lemanne et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 3.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    License

    This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

We report the case of a 48-year-old man who achieved a complete molecular remission 20 years after a diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia while using epigallicatechin-3-gallate, an extract of green tea. The patient presented at age 28 with lymphocytosis, mild anemia, mild thrombocytopenia, and massive splenomegaly, for which a splenectomy was performed. He was then followed expectantly. Over the next two decades, he suffered two symptomatic chronic lymphocytic leukemia-related events. The first occurred twelve years after diagnosis (at age 40) when the patient developed fevers, night sweats, and moderate anemia. He was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia secondary to chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The patient declined conventional therapy in favor of a diet, exercise, and supplement regimen, and recovered from the autoimmune hemolytic anemia though the underlying chronic lymphocytic leukemia remained evident. This is the first published case report of "spontaneous" recovery from secondary autoimmune hemolytic anemia in an adult. 

Over the second decade following chronic lymphocytic leukemia diagnosis, serial bone marrow biopsies demonstrated increasing lymphocytosis, with minimal peripheral lymphocytosis. However, twenty years after diagnosis, peripheral lymphocytosis accelerated, with white blood cell counts rising to 55,000/µL. Because the patient continued to refuse conventional therapy, he was treated instead with a supplement regimen that included high doses of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a green tea extract. Peripheral lymphocytosis resolved. More remarkably, a bone marrow examination, including flow cytometry, showed no evidence of a malignant clone. Two years later (at age 51), the peripheral blood and bone marrow were without molecular evidence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia or any malignancy. The patient remains well at age 52. 



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Dawn Lemanne

Oncology, Oregon Integrative Oncology

For correspondence:
dawn.lemanne@gmail.com

Keith I. Block

Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Bruce R. Kressel

Medical Oncology/Hematology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Vikas P. Sukhatme

School of Medicine, BIDMC, Harvard Medical School

Jeffrey D. White

Director, Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Cancer Institute, US National Institutes of Health

Dawn Lemanne

Oncology, Oregon Integrative Oncology

For correspondence:
dawn.lemanne@gmail.com

Keith I. Block

Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Bruce R. Kressel

Medical Oncology/Hematology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Vikas P. Sukhatme

School of Medicine, BIDMC, Harvard Medical School

Jeffrey D. White

Director, Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Cancer Institute, US National Institutes of Health