Studies show coffee can reduce risk of liver cancer

A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research this week found that increased coffee consumption may reduce the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and compared those who consumed fewer than six cups of coffee per week, those who drank one to three cups per day and those who drank four or more cups per day. It found that those who drank one to three cups per day had a 29 percent reduction in risk for developing HCC, and those who drank four or more cups per day had a 42 percent reduction in risk for developing HCC.

The results were consistent regardless of the participants’ ethnicity, sex, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake or whether or not they had diabetes.

“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, assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles. “We wanted to examine whether coffee consumption is associated with risk for developing HCC in multiethnic U.S. populations.”

The study analyzed nearly 180,000 male and female participants, including those of Caucasian, African American and Latino descent. The researchers tracked the participants’ coffee consumption and other lifestyle and dietary factors for up to 18 years. At the end of the study, 498 of those involved contracted HCC.

Setiawan noted that this study allows coffee to be added as a medical ailment for the treatment of HCC.

“Data from a diverse group of men and women from various ethnicities followed up for 18 years showed a statistically significant dose-response relationship between increasing coffee consumption and lowered HCC risk,” Setiawan said. “Now we can add HCC to the list of medical ailments, such as Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, that may be prevented by coffee intake. Daily coffee consumption should be encouraged in individuals who are at high risk for HCC.”