Three drinks a day can cause liver cancer, new report finds

An analysis of worldwide research on diet, weight, physical activity and liver cancer has found strong evidence that consuming approximately three or more alcoholic drinks a day causes liver cancer. Published today, the finding provides the clearest indication so far of how many drinks actually cause liver cancer.r-uauy

As a member of the independent panel of scientists that reviewed the worldwide research, this is a significant finding that I hope will help reduce the global number of cases of liver cancer. Currently, it’s the second most common cause of death from cancer worldwide, accounting for 746,000 deaths globally in 2012.

How alcohol causes liver cancer

Excessive alcohol consumption over a period of time can cause damage to the liver and lead to cirrhosis (scarring and hardening of the liver), which is known to increase the risk of this cancer. We know that 90-95% of liver cancer cases have underlying cirrhosis. Alcohol consumption is also carcinogenic to humans, has tumor-promoting effects, and is associated with increased body fat. The latter is a concern because obesity is a risk factor for accumulation of fat in the liver, which may lead to cirrhosis and also increase liver cancer risk. Continue reading


The Genes in Your Coffee (and Cancer-Protective Compounds)

Quick: what do tea, chocolate and coffee all have in common? There’s actually a lot they share – including many cancer-protective compounds – but for all who answered caffeine, that’s the big one.CoffeeBeansCup_dreamstime_13158097_blog

Now a research team has sequenced a draft of the genome of the coffee plant, finding that the caffeine compound has probably evolved independently of tea or chocolate. The researchers sequenced the plant Coffea canephora, which reportedly accounts for almost a third of the world’s coffee production.

The study was published on Friday in Science.

In all, the scientists identified about 25,000 protein-producing genes in the plant. (Humans have approximately 21,000 genes.) When they compared the coffee genome to the DNA of tea and chocolate they found coffee’s caffeine enzymes are more closely related to other genes within the coffee plant than to caffeine enzymes in tea and chocolate.

Compared to the grape and tomato, the coffee plant contains larger families of genes that relate to the production of flavonoid and other compounds, which contribute to the smell of coffee and are studied for their health benefits. Continue reading


Study: Coffee Lowers Risk of Liver Cancer

A recent analysis on coffee possibly protecting against liver cancer has nudged its way into the headlines today, adding to the good news for coffee lovers.

Last month, AICR’s continuous update report on endometrial cancer found that coffee protected against this cancer. It wCoffee still lifeas a modest reduction  – 7 percent lower for that first cup of coffee. But it was the first time there was enough evidence for AICR to conclude that coffee reduced the risk of a cancer.

This latest study on coffee and liver cancer was published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Study researchers looked for all relevant human studies between 1966 and 2012, ending up with 16. Analyzed together, drinking any amount of coffee linked to a 40 percent lower risk of liver cancer compared to those who did not drink. Higher amounts linked to lower risk.

And compared to non-coffee drinkers, there was a 20 percent lower risk for that first daily cup. Continue reading