Coffee & Health

Coffee & Health Reviews the Latest Research on Cancer

May 5, 2016

The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) has updated the following topic on the Coffee & Health website: “Cancer”.

The updated “Cancer” topic reviews the latest scientific evidence on coffee and cancer, reporting that overall, the scientific evidence suggests there is no association between moderate coffee consumption at 3-5 cups per day and an increased risk of developing cancer. Research to date also suggests that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of developing cancer at a number of body sites.

The Cancer topic includes the following research and scientific opinion:

  • The European Food Safety Authority concluded in 2015 that: “caffeine intakes from all sources up to 400 mg per day (about 5.7 mg/kg bw per day for a 70-kg adult) consumed throughout the day do not give rise to safety concerns for healthy adults in the general population. No health concerns in relation to […] cancer risk […] have been raised by other bodies in previous assessments for this level of habitual caffeine consumption and no new data have become available on these or other clinical outcomes which could justify modifying these conclusions1”.
  • A 2016 study, following 73,346 Japanese individuals where 274 cases of bladder cancer were identified, concluded that the data indicates a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and bladder cancer2.
  • A 2013 meta-analysis of 7,376 oesophageal cancer cases concluded that both coffee and green tea have protective effects on oesophageal cancer risk3.
  • A 2011 meta-analysis of 40 prospective cohort studies, including over 2 million participants across Europe, North America and Asia, found that coffee consumption was not associated with an increased risk of cancer4. For some types of cancer, coffee intake was inversely associated with disease risk.
  • A 2015 multicentre prospective European cohort study has strengthened the existing evidence regarding the inverse association between coffee/tea and a reduced risk of hepatocellular [liver] cancer5.
  • A 2015 meta-analysis concluded that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, particularly amongst European populations6.
  • There are limited studies on maternal coffee consumption and childhood leukemia: while some research suggests an association between consumption of coffee during pregnancy and subsequent increased risk of childhood leukemia, more research is needed. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised by EFSA to drink no more than 200mg of caffeine per day from all sources, equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee7.

Updated resources on the website include downloadable PDFs to support healthcare professionals (Questions Patients Ask and a cancer factsheet), and a range of infographics, facts and figures.


Readers interested in finding out more about coffee & health can visit:

ISIC’s PDF resources and infographics are free for media and healthcare professionals to use: please credit ISIC and/or provide a link back to


  1. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA) (2015) Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine. EFSA Journal, 13(5):4102.
  2. Sugiyama K. et al. (2016) The association between coffee consumption and bladder cancer incidence in a pooled analysis of the Miyagi cohort study and the Ohsaki cohort study. Eur J Canc Prev, published online ahead of print.
  3. Zheng J.S. et al. (2013) Effects of Green Tea, Black Tea, and Coffee Consumption on the Risk of Esophageal Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Nutrition and Cancer, 65(1):1-16.
  4. Yu X. et al. (2011) Coffee consumption and risk of cancers: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. BMC Cancer, 11:96.
  5. Bamia C. et al. (2015) Coffee, tea and decaffeinated coffee in relation to hepatocellular carcinoma in a European population: multicentre, prospective cohort study. Int J Cancer, 136(8):1899-908.
  6. Liu H. et al. (2015) Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Meta-analysis of Cohort Studies. Nutrition and Cancer, 67(3):392-400.
  7. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA) (2015) Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine. EFSA Journal, 13(5):4102.     

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