Higher Intake of Coffee Lowers Risk of Developing Liver Cancer

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Over the recent years, coffee has been widely hyped for its health benefits. Adding weight to this, a new study links higher consumption of coffee to the reduced risk of developing liver cancer.

The study led by researchers at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, dispels the many myths of coffee. The study comes as a relief for all the coffee addicts stating higher the coffee intake lower is the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most common type of liver cancer.

The study researchers noticed that those who consumed less than six cups of coffee every week or 1-3 cups every day had nearly 29 percent reduced risk of developing HCC. Those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee every day had 42 percent reduced risk of developing HCC.

“Coffee intake has been suggested to lower the risk for HCC in epidemiologic studies, but these studies were conducted outside of the United States,” said V. Wendy Setiawan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We wanted to examine whether coffee consumption is associated with risk for developing HCC in multiethnic U.S. populations.”

The researchers conducted an analysis on 17,890 men and women that included over 45,641 Caucasians, 29,486 African Americans, 13,118 Native Hawaiians, 52,548 Japanese Americans and 39,097 Latinos. Further, they accumulated data from the subjects regarding the consumption of coffee and other dietary, lifestyle factors before the start of the study and followed the subjects for nearly 18 years.

The researchers saw that out of the total number of subjects, nearly 498 of them developed the cancer, Among these 67 of them were Caucasians, 73 were African Americans, 34 were Native Hawaiians, 171 were Japanese Americans and 153 were Latinos.

Apart from this, the association between consumption of coffee and reduced risk of HCC was independent of the subjects’ gender, BMI, alcohol and smoking status, diabetes status and ethnicity. It also remained independent of hepatitis infection.

This data revealed a statistically significant dose-response relationship between high coffee consumption and reduced HCC risk. This new finding adds HCC to the list of other diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and stroke that can be staved off by intake of coffee.  Above all, the high intake of coffee should be encouraged among those at higher risk of HCC.

“The roles of specific coffee components that are actually protective against HCC remain open to discussion,” said Setiawan.

Last week, a study by researchers from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore found that drinking over two cups of coffee lowered the risk of death from Cirrhosis, a scarring of the liver that obstructs the function of the organ.

The study presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

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