Drinking coffee daily may halve liver cancer risk


If you enjoy your morning cup of coffee, the results of a recent study will be a welcome news. Researchers have found that drinking just one cup of coffee per day could cut the risk of hepatocellular cancer – the most common form of liver cancer – by a fifth.

Drinking up to five cups of coffee every day could halve the risk of hepatocellular cancer, researchers say. Researchers found that the higher one’s coffee consumption, the lower the risk of hepatocellular cancer (HCC), with up to five cups of coffee each day associated with a 50 percent lower HCC risk. Even decaffeinated coffee intake was found to reduce the risk of HCC, but to a lesser effect, the team reports.

Lead study author Dr Oliver Kennedy, of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recently reported their findings in BMJ Open. People with liver disease have the greatest risk of developing HCC, particularly those whose liver has been damaged through infection with hepatitis B or C, chronic liver inflammation, autoimmune disease, or alcohol abuse.

However, according to Dr Kennedy and colleagues, increasing coffee consumption may help to reduce the likelihood of developing HCC, even among adults with pre-existing liver disease.

The analysis revealed that drinking one cup of coffee daily was associated with a 20 per cent reduced risk of HCC; drinking two cups of caffeinated coffee per day was linked to a 35 per cent reduction in HCC risk, while the risk of HCC was halved with consumption of up to five cups of caffeinated coffee daily. Drinking decaffeinated coffee was also linked to a lower risk of HCC, though to a lesser extent than caffeinated coffee. The protective effect of coffee against HCC was identified among both existing coffee drinkers and those who do not normally consume the beverage.

The researchers say that there was little available data to determine whether drinking more than five cups of coffee daily might lower HCC risk.

Previous studies have suggested a role for coffee intake in reducing the risk of liver cancer, and Dr. Kennedy and colleagues believe that their latest study supports such an association.

“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,” says Dr. Kennedy.