Drinking caffeinated coffee may lower risk of developing skin cancer
Latest research shows that increasing the number of cups of caffeinated coffee consumed may lower the risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, according to a study 1 published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Dr Fengju Song and his colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in the U.S., generated their results by conducting a prospective analysis of data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a large and long-running study to aid in the investigation of factors influencing women’s health, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, an analogous study for men.
Of the 112,897 participants included in the analyses, 22,786 developed basal cell carcinoma, 1,953 developed squamous cell carcinoma and 741 developed melanoma during the more than 20 years of follow-up in the two studies. An inverse association was observed between all coffee consumption and risk of basal cell carcinoma. Similarly, an inverse association was seen between intake of caffeine from all dietary sources (coffee, tea, cola and chocolate) and risk of basal cell carcinoma. However, consumption of decaffeinated coffee was not associated with a decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma.
“These results really suggest that it is the caffeine in coffee that is responsible for the decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma associated with increasing coffee consumption,” said the author. “This would be consistent with published mouse data, which indicate caffeine can block skin tumor formation. However, more studies in different population cohorts and additional mechanistic studies will be needed before we can say this definitively.”
In contrast to the findings for basal cell carcinoma, neither coffee consumption nor caffeine intake were inversely associated with the two other forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease.
“Our data indicate that the more caffeinated coffee you consume, the lower your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma,” said the author. These results add basal cell carcinoma to a list of conditions for which risk may decrease with increasing coffee consumption.
1F Song et al, 2012, Increased caffeine intake is associated with reduced risk of basal cell carcinoma of the skin, Cancer Research, 72 (13) published online ahead of print.
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