A Coffee Cancer Connection?

Coffee drinking not linked to lower risk of severe prostate cancer in study

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which can help fight cancer and protect against aging. A new study showed this may not be the case with prostate cancer. A recent study looked at the link between the amount of coffee consumed and the severity of prostate cancer. But the results of this particular study did not find any significant associations between higher intake of coffee and the risks of dying from prostate cancer.

No association was found between drinking coffee and the overall risk of developing prostate cancer either.

"Talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screening."

This study was conducted by Kathryn M. Wilson, ScD, research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues.

The aim of this study was to examine the association between coffee and prostate cancer risk.

The researchers looked at dietary data and the average coffee intake of 1,499 prostate cancer patients (study group) and 1,112 men without prostate cancer (comparison group). The data was obtained from a larger study known as Cancer of the Prostate in Sweden (CAPS).

In the year before prostate cancer was diagnosed in members of the study group, the average coffee intake of the study subjects as well as the comparison group was around 3 cups per day.

After looking at the data, the researchers found that men who drank more than 5 cups of coffee per day were about 34 percent less likely to die of prostate cancer than those who drank less than 1 cup per day. But the researchers also discovered that this difference in risk could have occurred by random chance, which means the results were not significant.

Coffee intake was not associated with overall risk of prostate cancer.

The researchers noted several limitations to the study. The size of the cup of coffee was not known. Also, coffee intake was measured only for one year, so the effects of coffee over a person’s lifetime were not examined.

The authors also recommended that further studies be conducted to study this association in other populations.

According to Dr. Alvin Goh, urologist at Houston Methodist Cancer Center and dailyRx Contributing Expert, "There is very little substantive evidence to support the association between consumption of coffee and prostate cancer risk or death. There are multiple studies with contradictory results. In the very same issue of the journal as the Swedish study, an examination of a much larger cohort of American subjects showed no [link] between coffee consumption and prostate cancer."

Dr. Goh added, "I would advise my patients that there is currently no strong evidence available to support any recommendations to alter coffee consumption with regard to its effect on prostate cancer."

The results of this study were published in July in Cancer Causes & Control.

The study was funded by the Swedish Cancer Society. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
July 16, 2013
Last Updated:
August 1, 2013