Italian coffee cuts prostate cancer risk

Drinking more than three cups of Italian-style coffee a day could halve the risk of prostate cancer.

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer (doi: 10.1002/ijc.30720) measured coffee intake and assessed prostate cancer risk in nearly 4000 Italian men aged over 50.

Over an average of four years of follow-up, around 100 new cases of prostate cancer were identified among the men. Analysis showed that the men who drank the most coffee (>3 cups/day) had a 53% lower prostate cancer risk compared to men who drank less (0–2 cups/day) (p = 0.02).

To further investigate the potential anti-cancer effects of coffee, two human prostate cancer cell lines were tested with increasing concentrations of caffeine, and their proliferative/metastatic features were evaluated. Both human prostate cancer cell lines treated with caffeine showed a significant reduction in their proliferative and metastatic behaviors (p < 0.05). These effects were not seen with decaffeinated coffee extracts.

The researchers point out that the results may not be more widely applicable because Italians prepare coffee in a particular way with high pressure, very hot water and with no filters.

Study author Licia Iacoviello says: ‘This method is different from those followed in other areas of the world and could lead to a higher concentration of bioactive substances.’

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