Men who regularly drink coffee appear to have a lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer (PCa), according to a study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The lower risk was evident among men who drank either regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting the effect is not due to caffeine.
Coffee contains many beneficial compounds that have potent antioxidant activity that affect glucose metabolism and sex hormone levels. Coffee has been associated in prior studies with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstone disease, and liver cancer or cirrhosis. The current study examined the association between coffee consumption and the risk of prostate cancer in 47,911 U.S. men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. During the study period, 5,035 of PCa cases were reported, including 642 fatal or metastatic cases.
Men who consumed the most coffee (six or more cups daily) had nearly a 20% lower risk of developing any form of PCa. In addition, men who drank the most coffee had a 60% lower risk of developing lethal PCa, which was defined as a subset of advanced cancers that caused death or metastasis to bone. Even drinking one to three cups of coffee a day was associated with a 30% lower risk of lethal PCa.
“If our findings are validated, coffee could represent one modifiable factor that may lower the risk of developing the most harmful form of prostate cancer,” said lead author Kathryn Wilson, ScD, a research fellow in the department of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.