Caffeine has been shown to prevent ultraviolet radiation-induced carcinogenesis and to inhibit growth of melanoma cells in experimental studies. We evaluated the association among caffeine intake, coffee consumption, and melanoma risk among three large cohort studies.
The analysis used data from 89,220 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2009), 74,666 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2008), and 39,424 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2008). We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of melanoma associated with dietary intakes.
We documented 2,254 melanoma cases over 4 million person-years of follow-up. After adjustment for other risk factors, higher total caffeine intake was associated with a lower risk of melanoma (≥393 mg/day vs. <60 mg/day: HR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.64, 0.96; Ptrend = 0.048). The association was more apparent in women (≥393 mg/day vs. <60 mg/day: HR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.58, 0.85; Ptrend = 0.001) than in men (HR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.75, 1.2; Ptrend = 0.81), and more apparent for melanomas occurring on body sites with higher continuous sun exposure (head, neck, and extremities; ≥393 mg/day vs. <60 mg/day: HR = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.59, 0.86; Ptrend = 0.001) than for melanomas occurring on body sites with lower continuous sun exposure (trunk including shoulder, back, hip, abdomen, and chest; HR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.70, 1.2; Ptrend = 0.60). This pattern of association was similar to that for caffeinated coffee consumption, whereas no association was found for decaffeinated coffee consumption and melanoma risk.
Increasing caffeine intake and caffeinated coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of cutaneous malignant melanomas.