Risk of Certain Cancers Found Lower in Nonsmokers Who Consume Coffee

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Coffee consumption has been linked to lower risk of certain types of cancer.
Coffee consumption has been linked to lower risk of certain types of cancer.

Drinking coffee may decrease the risk of colorectal, female breast, liver, and head and neck cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention.

The Cancer Prevention Study-II collected data from 1.2 million patients who completed questionnaires detailing their lifestyles and health histories. The study analyzed information from 922,896 eligible patients who reported to have never had cancer, drank coffee, and fit the stratified smoking categories.

At the time of final follow-up, there were 118,738 cancer deaths. A non-linear relationship was observed between coffee consumption and all-cancer deaths among former and current smokers, and no association was seen with never-smokers.

In nonsmokers, a 2 cup/day increase in coffee consumption had an inverse relationship with death from colorectal (hazard ratio [HR], 0.97; 95% CI, 0.95-0.99), female breast (HR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.94-0.99), and liver (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.88-0.96) cancers, and a 2 to 3 cups/day and greater increase had a nonlinear inverse relationship with head and neck cancer death (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55-0.95).

A positive association was observed between a 2 cup/day increase of coffee consumption in nonsmokers and esophageal cancer death (HR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.02-1.12).

The authors concluded that “our findings in nonsmokers are consistent with previous studies that found coffee consumption associated with reduced risk of death from head and neck, colorectal, liver, and female breast cancers. However, further research is needed to either confirm or refute our findings of a positive association between coffee consumption and death from esophageal cancer.”


1. Gapstur SM, Anderson RL, Campbell PT, et al. Associations of coffee drinking and cancer mortality in the cancer prevention study-II [published online July 27, 2017]. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965

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