Coffee Intake Reduced Colorectal Cancer Risk

April 5, 2016

Drinking coffee resulted in a more than 25% decreased risk for developing colorectal cancer, according to the results of a new study.

Drinking coffee resulted in a more than 25% decreased risk for developing colorectal cancer, according to the results of a study published in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

In fact, compared with those who had less than 1 serving of coffee a day, participants in the study who had more than 2.5 servings had a 54% reduction in the odds of developing colorectal cancer, according to Stephanie L. Schmit, PhD, MPH, of USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues.

“This large case–control study provides evidence of an inverse, dose–response association between coffee drinking and the odds of colorectal cancer, colon, and rectal cancer incidence,” Schmit and colleagues wrote. “The health risks of coffee consumption are low, but additional evidence is warranted before advocating for coffee consumption as a nutraceutical approach to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.”

The researchers looked at coffee intake and colorectal cancer occurrence in 5,145 cases and 4,097 controls from the Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer study. The study took place in Northern Israel and included ethnic subgroups of Arabs, Ashkenazi Jews, and Sephardic Jews. Participants completed a questionnaire that asked about the frequency with which they consumed coffee, decaffeinated coffee, boiled black coffee, espresso, instant coffee, or filtered coffee 1 year prior to diagnosis or the control patient interviews.

On average, participants consumed 2 servings of coffee a days. Arab participants had the highest consumption with 3.3 servings per day, followed by Sephardic Jews with 2.1 servings, and Ashkenazi Jews with 1.8 servings.

After adjusting for known risk factors, the researchers found that coffee consumption was associated with a 26% decreased risk for colorectal cancer (odds ratio [OR], 0.76 [95% CI, 0.64–0.86]; P < .001) compared with people who did not drink coffee. This decreased risk remained when intake of decaffeinated coffee was examined alone (OR, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.68–0.99]) and the intake of boiled coffee was examined alone (OR, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.71–0.94]; P = .004).

“Alternative explanations for an inverse association between coffee consumption and colorectal cancer include reverse causation, with digestive tract disease and bowel symptoms leading cases to avoid drinking coffee, and the possibility that total fluid consumption or hot beverage drinking may reduce risk of colorectal cancer through a mechanism of increased colon motility,” the researchers wrote. “However, we observed that controlling for total beverage consumption did not attenuate the inverse relation between coffee and colorectal cancer.”

The study also revealed that increasing coffee consumption was associated with lower risk for colorectal cancer. Compared with those patients who consumed less than 1 serving of coffee a day, those who consumed 1 to less than 2 servings (OR, 0.78), 2 to 2.5 servings (OR, 0.59), or more than 2.5 servings per day (OR, 0.46) all had decreased risk for colorectal cancer.