Consuming four or more cups per day of caffeinated coffee could almost halve the risk of dying from oral/pharyngeal cancer compared to drinking no coffee or drinking it only occasionally, researchers reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology. “A dose-related decline in relative risk was observed with each single cup/day consumed,” the authors stated. “The association was not modified by sex, smoking status, or alcohol use.”
Using data from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II, the researchers identified 868 deaths due to oral/pharyngeal cancer occurred during 26 years of follow-up among 968,432 men and women who were cancer-free at enrollment. Those who drank four or more cups (237 mL) of caffeinated coffee had “a 49% lower risk of relative to no/occasional coffee intake (relative risk [RR] = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.40, 0.64),” the researchers reported. “The relative risk for decaffeinated coffee intake was lower among those with daily intake of > 2 cups/day, but the estimate was of marginal statistical significance” (RR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.37—1.01), the investigators added. There was no association found for drinking tea.
“Coffee, one of the most commonly consumed beverages worldwide, contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help to protect against development or progression of cancer,” the authors wrote. “The strong inverse association between fatal oral/pharyngeal cancer and caffeinated coffee observed in our study augments the epidemiologic literature on this topic,” they noted.
Hildebrand JS, et al: Am J Epidemiol. December 9, 2012 (early release on line).