Research: Higher coffee consumption may protect against liver cancer

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31 Mar 2015 --- A new report shows that regular coffee intake could reduce liver cancer risk caused by daily alcohol consumption.

The research, conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund International in London, identifies new findings around alcohol, obesity and coffee. The findings, which have been published in the Continuous Update Project (CUP) 2015 report on ‘diet, nutrition, physical activity and liver cancer’, identifies that drinking three alcoholic drinks a day can be enough to cause liver cancer. The research is based on an analysis of 34 studies that included 8.2m people, more than 24,500 of whom had liver cancer. 

Amanda McLean, director of World Cancer Research Fund UK, said: “Around three or more drinks per day can be enough to cause liver cancer. Until now we were uncertain about the amount of alcohol likely to lead to liver cancer. But the research reviewed in this report is strong enough, for the first time, to be more specific about this.” 

It also emerged from the study that there is now strong evidence to show that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of liver cancer. This discovery follows research the World Cancer Research Fund published in 2013 showing that coffee reduced the risk of womb cancer. 

“The new findings around alcohol, obesity and coffee are particularly interesting,” said Dr Kate Allen, executive director of science and public affairs at World Cancer Research Fund International. “There are also interesting new suggestions relating to exercise and fish.”

“The evidence about the relationship between diet, nutrition, physical activity and cancer is becoming well established. We hope that these new findings will inform the debate about possible public health implications and policy responses,” she said. 

Coffee has also been shown to reduce the expression of genes involved in inflammation, and the effects appear to be most pronounced in the liver, according to the researchers. 

The study shows that the disk of developing cancer might be reduced by around 14% if inpiduals consumed one cup per day. 

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