Regular coffee drinking could lower the risk of liver cancer by up to 55%, suggests a new meta-analysis. The prevalence of liver cancer is rare in Western countries but affects considerable numbers of people in East and South East Asia.
Italian researchers combined the data from 10 long-tem studies that included information about coffee consumption and the incidence of various cancers. It was found that moderate coffee drinking was associated with a 30% lower risk of liver cancer, while heavy coffee drinking was associated with a 55% lower risk. The apparently beneficial effects were seen in studies carried out in Southern Europe, where coffee drinking is widespread, but also in Japan where coffee drinking is less common.
Coffee could impact on liver cancer development for a variety of reasons. It is a source of polyphenol antioxidants, which are known to protect cells from damage. Also, some constituents of coffee have been found to inhibit cancer cell growth in animal studies.. More research is needed before firm recommendations about coffee and cancer can be made.
For more information, see
Bravi F et al (2007). Coffee drinking and hepatocellular carcinoma risk: A meta-analysis. Hepatology, Vol 46, pp 430-435.
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