Despite experimental evidence showing chemopreventive effects of coffee-related compounds on gastric carcinogenesis, epidemiologic studies generally do not support coffee-gastric cancer associations. Observational data are lacking among high-risk populations with sufficient regular coffee consumption.
We examined the association between caffeinated coffee intake and gastric cancer risk in a population-based cohort that enrolled 63,257 Chinese men and women ages 45 to 74 years between 1993 and 1998 in Singapore. Incident gastric cancer cases (n = 647) were identified after a mean follow-up of 14.7 years. Biomarkers of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection were measured in a subset of gastric cancer cases with blood collected before cancer diagnosis and their matched controls.
In the total cohort, daily versus nondaily coffee intake was associated with a statistically non-significant decrease in gastric cancer risk [HR = 0.85; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.69-1.04]. In women, the inverse association strengthened and reached statistical significance (HR = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.46-0.87). In analyses restricted to never smokers and nondrinkers of alcohol, inverse associations strengthened in the total cohort (HR = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.52-0.91) and in women (HR = 0.52; 95% CI, 0.37-0.74). There was no coffee-gastric cancer risk association among men, regardless of smoking status or alcohol consumption. Similar results were observed in the nested case-control study after adjustment for H. pylori infection.
Daily coffee consumption may reduce the risk of gastric cancer in high-risk populations, especially among women.
Research aimed at identifying the compounds in coffee that may protect against gastric carcinogenesis is warranted.