Drinking regular or decaffeinated coffee is associated with a reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer, new research suggests.

“Coffee has effects on insulin and glucose metabolism as well as sex hormone levels, all of which play a role in prostate cancer,” said Kathryn M. Wilson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Channing Laboratory in Boston.

She and her colleagues found that men who drank the most coffee had a 59% decreased risk of either lethal or advanced prostate cancer compared with men who drank no coffee. The magnitude of risk reduction was more pronounced in men who never smoked; in this group, the biggest coffee consumers had an 89% decreased risk compared with men who did not drink coffee.

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Dr. Wilson, who presented study findings at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference in Houston, said caffeine is not the key factor in this association.

The researchers analyzed data from men who participated in the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study. They documented the regular and decaffeinated coffee intake of about 50,000 men every four years from 1986 to 2006. Prostate cancer developed in 4,975 men during this period.

“Very few lifestyle factors have been consistently associated with prostate cancer risk, especially with risk of aggressive disease, so it would be exciting if this association is confirmed in other studies,” Dr. Wilson said. “While it is too early to recommend increasing coffee intake based on this study alone, our results do suggest there is no reason to stop drinking coffee out of any concern about prostate cancer.”