By now you have probably heard the warning ricochetting around the myeloma survivor community about NOT taking green tea or its derivatives with Velcade (bortezomib). It turns out that Green tea polyphenols block the anticancer effects of bortezomib and other boronic acid-based proteasome inhibitors. EGCG was particularly effective at preventing cell death from Velcade, both in vitro and in real people.
So, if we're on Velcade or the trial drug carfilzomib, we should stay away from green tea, right? And what about black tea, which contains similar polyphenols? Just don't drink tea?
When I brought this to the attention of my naturopath, Dr HH, she immediately took it a step further and wrote to an author of the study published in Blood Journal (see link above), asking if there was a safe time period before and after a Velcade infusion for a person to enjoy a cup of tea. The author responded by email as follows: "Based on our observations, in combination with the known half lives of bortezomib and green tea products, we would recommend a "safety zone" of 24 hours before and 24 hours after bortezomib injection for the avoidance of green tea and green tea products."
So it appears that you can enjoy your cup of tea and maybe even your EGCG supplement, if you like, as long as you maintain that 24-hour "safety zone" of time.
Questions remain: Would green tea interfere with any other myeloma drugs? Would other supplements interfere with Velcade? We have plenty of studies showing the benefits of various supplements, but few those have the supplement in combination with FDA-approved medicines like Revlimid, Thalidomide, or even dexamethasone.