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Coffee and cancer risk: a summary overview

Alicandro, Gianfrancoa; Tavani, Alessandrab; La Vecchia, Carloa

European Journal of Cancer Prevention: September 2017 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - p 424–432
doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000341
Review Articles: Lifestyle

We reviewed available evidence on coffee drinking and the risk of all cancers and selected cancers updated to May 2016. Coffee consumption is not associated with overall cancer risk. A meta-analysis reported a pooled relative risk (RR) for an increment of 1 cup of coffee/day of 1.00 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.99–1.01] for all cancers. Coffee drinking is associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer. A meta-analysis of cohort studies found an RR for an increment of consumption of 1 cup/day of 0.85 (95% CI: 0.81–0.90) for liver cancer and a favorable effect on liver enzymes and cirrhosis. Another meta-analysis showed an inverse relation for endometrial cancer risk, with an RR of 0.92 (95% CI: 0.88–0.96) for an increment of 1 cup/day. A possible decreased risk was found in some studies for oral/pharyngeal cancer and for advanced prostate cancer. Although data are mixed, overall, there seems to be some favorable effect of coffee drinking on colorectal cancer in case–control studies, in the absence of a consistent relation in cohort studies. For bladder cancer, the results are not consistent; however, any possible direct association is not dose and duration related, and might depend on a residual confounding effect of smoking. A few studies suggest an increased risk of childhood leukemia after maternal coffee drinking during pregnancy, but data are limited and inconsistent. Although the results of studies are mixed, the overall evidence suggests no association of coffee intake with cancers of the stomach, pancreas, lung, breast, ovary, and prostate overall. Data are limited, with RR close to unity for other neoplasms, including those of the esophagus, small intestine, gallbladder and biliary tract, skin, kidney, brain, thyroid, as well as for soft tissue sarcoma and lymphohematopoietic cancer.

aDepartment of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan

bDepartment of Epidemiology, IRCCS – Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche ‘Mario Negri’, Milan, Italy

Correspondence to Alessandra Tavani, SciD, Department of Epidemiology, IRCCS – Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche ‘Mario Negri’, Via G. La Masa 19, Milan 20156, Italy Tel: +39 023 901 4722; fax: +39 023 320 0231;e-mail: alessandra.tavani@marionegri.it

Received December 20, 2016

Accepted December 30, 2016

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