Yesterday, there were a lot of stories about a new AICR-supported study on coffee and prostate cancer. The study found that drinking six or more cups of coffee regularly reduced the risk of overall prostate cancer by 18 percent, and lethal prostate cancer by 60 percent.
The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and you can read more about it in yesterday’s post.
Julie Kasperzyk, PhD., an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health was one of the study authors. Julie’s research is partially supported by AICR. Here, she answers a few questions about the work.
Q: There have been other studies looking at coffee-prostate cancer risk that have found coffee does not have an effect, what is unique about this new study?
A: This is the first large, prospective study to look specifically at advanced and lethal prostate cancer. This is especially important because prostate cancer is such a heterogeneous disease, and we need to understand risk factors associated with more aggressive forms of the disease. In addition, most previous studies of coffee and prostate cancer are older and didn’t use modern methods of adjusting for possible confounders. Read more… “Q&A on the Coffee-Prostate Cancer Study”
Previous studies on coffee and prostate cancer have found neither increased nor decreased risk. The new JNCI study is unique in that it focused on the advanced form of the disease and is the largest to date.
This study tracked almost 48,000 U.S. men who reported how much coffee they drank every four years from 1986 to 2008. During the study period, 5,035 cases of prostate cancer were reported, including 642 fatal cases.
For all forms of prostate cancer, the study found that men who consumed six or more cups of coffee daily had nearly a 20 percent lower risk than non-drinkers. When focusing only on the deadly form of prostate cancer, the protective association was even stronger. Men who drank the most coffee had a 60 percent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer compared to non-coffee drinkers.
Stories on coffee and cancer have been around a long time. First, starting in the early 1980s, researchers began investigating if coffee increased our risk of pancreatic cancer. Now, after a lot of research, evidence suggests that coffee does not increase risk for the majority of cancers with some studies suggesting it offers protection.
The latest study on coffee and cancer points toward the protection side. The Swedish study suggests that drinking plenty of coffee every day may lower the risk of ER-negative breast cancer, a form of breast cancer difficult to treat.