Drinking more coffee could reduce liver cancer risk, suggests study

May 29, 2017, University of Southampton
Drinking more coffee could reduce liver cancer risk, suggests study
One more coffee a day associated with 20 per cent reduction in liver cancer. Credit: University of Southampton

Drinking more coffee could reduce the risk of developing the most common form of primary liver cancer, according to a study led by the University of Southampton.

Researchers from Southampton and the University of Edinburgh found that the more coffee consumed the greater the protection against hepatocellular (HCC).

Drinking one cup more of caffeinated coffee a day was associated with a 20 per cent reduction in the risk of developing HCC, two cups more with a 35 per cent reduction, and up to five cups with a halving of the risk.

The protection was found to be the same for both existing coffee-drinkers and those who didn't usually drink it, and the more coffee consumed the greater the effect – although there was little data available above five cups a day.

Decaffeinated coffee was also found to have a beneficial, though less marked, effect.

The research, published in the journal BMJ Open, examined the data from 26 observational studies, involving more than 2.25 million participants, to calculate the relative risks of developing HCC for drinking between one and five cups of caffeinated coffee a day.

Lead author Dr Oliver Kennedy, of the University of Southampton, said: "Coffee is widely believed to possess a range of health benefits, and these latest findings suggest it could have a significant effect on liver cancer risk.

"We're not suggesting that everyone should start drinking five cups of coffee a day though. There needs to be more investigation into the potential harms of high coffee-caffeine intake, and there is evidence it should be avoided in certain groups such as pregnant women.

"Nevertheless, our findings are an important development given the increasing evidence of HCC globally and its ."

HCC is the second leading cause of cancer death globally because of its poor prognosis and high frequency, especially in China and Southeast Asia. It mostly develops in people who are already suffering from .

It is estimated that, by 2030, the number of new cases annually will have risen by about 50 per cent to more than 1.2 million.

The compound molecules found in coffee possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and other beneficial properties which scientists believe may explain the lower rates of chronic liver disease and liver cancer experienced by coffee-drinkers.

About 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily worldwide, and increased coffee consumption has already been shown to protect against serious non-cancer chronic liver disease (cirrhosis).

Professor Peter Hayes, of the University of Edinburgh, commented: "We have shown that coffee reduces cirrhosis and also cancer in a dose-dependent manner. Coffee has also been reported to reduce the risk of death from many other causes. Our research adds to the evidence that, in moderation, coffee can be a wonderful natural medicine."

Dr Kennedy added: "The next step now is for researchers to investigate the effectiveness, through randomised trials, of increased consumption for those at risk of ."

Explore further: Drinking coffee may reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis

More information: Oliver John Kennedy et al. Coffee, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis, BMJ Open (2017). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013739

Related Stories

Drinking coffee may reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis

February 1, 2016
Regular consumption of coffee was linked with a reduced risk of liver cirrhosis in a review of relevant studies published before July 2015.

Drinking decaf coffee maybe good for the liver

October 9, 2014
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute report that decaffeinated coffee drinking may benefit liver health. Results of the study published in Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver ...

Drinking coffee may slow progression of liver disease

February 26, 2016
(HealthDay)—Regular coffee consumption seems to delay disease progression in alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and increase long-term survival ...

Weighing the health benefits of coffee

April 15, 2016
Chances are, you or someone you know is a coffee drinker. Admittedly, I love coffee and my relationship with it is one of slight dependency. Thus I am fully invested in exploring the research into its health effects.

Coffee consumption linked with reduced risk of diabetes

February 17, 2014
(HealthDay)—Higher consumption of coffee is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

Coffee may reduce risk of lethal prostate cancer in men

May 17, 2011
Men who regularly drink coffee appear to have a lower risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. What's more, the lower risk was ...

Recommended for you

Male contraceptive compound stops sperm without affecting hormones

April 20, 2018
A new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE details how a compound called EP055 binds to sperm proteins to significantly slow the overall mobility of the sperm without affecting hormones, making EP055 a potential ...

A dose of empathy may support patients in pain

April 20, 2018
Research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggests that empathic, positive messages from doctors may be of small benefit to patients suffering from pain, and improve their satisfaction about the care ...

New research suggests possible link between sudden infant death syndrome and air pollution

April 20, 2018
A study led by the University of Birmingham suggests a possible association between exposure to certain pollutants and an increased risk of so-called 'cot death'.

For heavy lifting, use exoskeletons with caution

April 20, 2018
You can wear an exoskeleton, but it won't turn you into a superhero.

New device to help patients with rare disease access life-saving treatment

April 19, 2018
Patients with a rare medical condition can receive life-saving treatment at the touch of a button thanks to a new device developed by scientists.

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

zorro6204
not rated yet May 29, 2017
Thanks for the ad, now we know herbal treatments from Health Herbal Clinic are worthless, because that's the only reason spam ads would pop up in a phys.org article.

Anyway, getting back to coffee, surely the next step should be to identify which chemicals in coffee provide the benefit and make that available as a supplement, because I don't drink coffee, it buzzes me out of my gourd, and I imagine I'm not alone. Reduced liver cancer? Great. Blasting down cups of coffee every day? Not a chance.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.