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Coffee & Health

P Carter et al, 2022. Coffee consumption and cancer risk: a Mendelian randomisation study, Clinical Nutrition, Volume 41 (10).

Coffee consumption and cancer risk: a Mendelian randomisation study

P Carter et al
Clinical Nutrition, Volume 41 (10)
September 14, 2022


Coffee contains many bioactive chemicals and associations with cancer have been reported in observational studies. In this Mendelian randomisation (MR) study we investigated the causal associations of coffee consumption with a broad range of cancers.

Materials and methods:
Twelve independent genetic variants proxied coffee consumption. Genetically-predicted risk of any cancer (59,647 cases) and 22 site-specific cancers was estimated in European-descent individuals in UK Biobank. Univariable and multivariable MR analyses were conducted.

Genetically-predicted coffee consumption was not associated with risk of any cancer in the main analysis (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.98-1.14, p = 0.183) but was associated with an increased risk of digestive system cancer (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.09-1.51, p = 0.003), driven by a strong association with oesophageal cancer (OR 2.79, 95% CI 1.73-4.50, p = 2.5×10-5). This association was consistent after adjustment for genetically-predicted body mass index, smoking and alcohol consumption. There was no strong evidence supporting a causal relationship between genetically-predicted coffee consumption and the majority of cancers studied. However, genetically-predicted coffee consumption was associated with increased risk of multiple myeloma (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.30-3.89, p = 0.004) and reduced ovarian cancer risk (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.43-0.93, p = 0.020).

This MR study provides strong support for a causal association of coffee consumption with oesophageal cancer, but not for the majority of cancer types, and the underlying mechanisms require investigation.

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