May 4, 2009

Coffee Does Not Decrease Risk of Colorectal Cancer

By Anonymous User

Contrary to the results of several previous studies, coffee consumption does not appear to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, according to the results of a study published in the International Journal of Cancer.[1]

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The disease develops in the large intestine, which includes the colon (the longest part of the large intestine) and the rectum (the last several inches).

Some studies have indicated that coffee may have a protective effect against colon cancer; however, researchers continue to evaluate this link in an effort to establish more direct evidence. In order to examine the relationship between coffee consumption and colorectal cancer, researchers from Harvard conducted a review of 12 studies that included 646,848 participants and 5,403 cases of colorectal cancer.

They evaluated high versus low coffee consumption and found no significant effect of coffee consumption on colorectal cancer risk. The review included four studies in the United States, five in Europe, and three in Japan. The data from each country was very similar. There were no significant differences by gender or site of cancer; however, there was a slight inverse relationship (reduction in risk) between coffee consumption and colon cancer for women, which was even more pronounced among Japanese women (21% for total study, 38% for Japanese women).

The researchers observed that inverse associations between coffee consumption and colorectal cancer “were slightly stronger in studies that controlled for smoking and alcohol and in studies with shorter follow-up times.”

They concluded that coffee is “unlikely to have a strong protective effect on colorectal cancer risk”; however, they also note that it does not appear to increase the risk of colorectal cancer either.


[1] Je Y, Liu W, Giovannucci E. Coffee consumption and risk of colorectal cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. International Journal of Cancer. 2009; 124: 1662-1668.

Tags: Colon Cancer, News Tips and Features, Rectal Cancer

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