Drinking coffee may cut prostate cancer recurrence risk

September 3, 2013

Coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence and progression, researchers reported.

Coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence and progression, researchers reported.

Corresponding author Janet L. Stanford, PhD, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, conducted the study to determine whether the bioactive compounds in coffee and tea may prevent prostate cancer recurrence and delay progression of the disease.

Dr. Stanford and colleagues, who published their findings online in Cancer Causes & Control (Aug. 2, 2013), found that men who drank four or more cups of coffee per day experienced a 59% reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence and/or progression as compared to those who drank only one or fewer cups per week.

They did not, however, find an association between coffee drinking and reduced mortality from prostate cancer, although the study included too few men who died of prostate cancer to address that issue separately.

The population-based study involved 1,001 prostate cancer survivors, aged 35-74 years at the time of diagnosis between 2002 and 2005, who were residents of King County, WA. Participants answered questions regarding their diet and beverage consumption 2 years prior to prostate cancer diagnosis using a validated food frequency questionnaire, and were interviewed about demographic and lifestyle information, family history of cancer, medication use, and prostate cancer screening history.

The authors followed up with patients more than 5 years after diagnosis to ascertain whether the prostate cancer had recurred and/or progressed. Those who were still living, willing to be contacted, and had been diagnosed with non-metastatic cancer were included in the follow-up effort.

Of the original 1,001 patients in the cohort, 630 answered questions regarding coffee intake, fit the follow-up criteria, and were included in the final analysis. Of those, 61% of the men consumed at least one cup of coffee per day and 12% consumed the highest amount: four or more cups per day.

The study also evaluated daily coffee consumption in relation to prostate cancer-specific death in 894 patients using data from the initial food frequency questionnaire. After the median follow-up period of 8.5 years, 125 of the men had died, including 38 specifically from prostate cancer. Daily coffee consumption was not associated with prostate cancer-specific mortality or other-cause mortality, but with few deaths these analyses were limited.

Regarding tea consumption, the authors did not find an associated reduction of prostate cancer recurrence and/or progression. The study also did not draw any conclusions regarding the impact of tea drinking on prostate cancer-specific death.

“To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate the potential association between tea consumption and prostate cancer outcomes,” the authors wrote. “It is important to note, however, that few patients in our cohort were regular tea drinkers and the highest category of tea consumption was one or more cups per day. The association should be investigated in future studies that have access to larger populations with higher levels of tea consumption.”

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