A recent meta-analysis in BMJ Open revealed that drinking more cups of coffee a day may significantly reduce the risk of developing liver cancer. As part of the research, health experts at the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. pooled data from 26 studies with a total cohort population of more than 2.25 million participants.
The analysis revealed that people who drank at least one cup of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to develop hepatocellular cancer compared with nondrinkers. The research team also found that participants who drank at least two cups per day had a 35 percent reduced odds of liver cancer. Participants who drank five cups were 50 percent less likely to develop the disease, the experts added. The research team also observed a protective effect in decaffeinated coffee. However, the protective effects were less pronounced in decaffeinated coffee compared with the caffeinated variety.
“It may be important for developing coffee as a lifestyle intervention in CLD (chronic liver disease), as decaffeinated coffee might be more acceptable to those who do not drink coffee or who limit their coffee consumption because of caffeine-related symptoms. 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 poor prognosis,” lead author Dr Oliver Kennedy said in Telegraph.co.uk.
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“This new study adds to the growing body of evidence showing that drinking coffee is good for liver health and can reduce your risk of developing liver cancer. However, by the time most people have the signs and symptoms of liver damage, it is often too late. It’s therefore really important to reduce your risks of developing liver cancer and liver disease – not just by drinking coffee, but by reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, keeping to a healthy weight by exercising and eating well, and by avoiding the risks for viral hepatitis,” said Andrew Langford, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust.
Coffee intake slashes liver cancer risk in previous studies
The recent analysis was only one of the many research that demonstrated the protective properties of coffee against liver cancer. In fact, a 2015 report by the World Cancer Research Fund showed that drinking at least one cup of coffee daily may reduce the odds of liver cancer onset by as much as 14 percent. The report was based on a meta-analysis of 34 clinical studies with a total cohort population of more than 8 million participants.
Another study revealed that the risk of liver cancer was significantly reduced by nearly half if people drank four or more cups of coffee a day. As part part of the study, a team of researchers at the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center pooled data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study with nearly 180,000 adult participants of various ethnic backgrounds including African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latinos and Caucasians.
The results showed that participants who consumed at least two cups of coffee daily had a 29 percent lower odds of suffering hepatocellular carcinoma compared with those who drank no more than six cups per week. The research team also found that participants who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had a 42 percent reduced risk of developing the disease.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego.