January 20, 2015
2 min read

Increased coffee intake reduced risk for HCC, death from chronic liver disease in multiple ethnicities

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High levels of coffee consumption were found to be associated with a decreased risk for incident hepatocellular carcinoma and chronic liver disease mortality in multiethnic US populations, according to new research data.

Because prospective data on coffee’s protective effects against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and chronic liver disease in US minority populations are lacking, researchers performed a prospective analysis of coffee drinking’s association with risk for incident HCC and chronic liver disease mortality using data from the Multiethnic Cohort study assembled between 1993 and 1996. They included more than 160,000 African Americans (16.1%), Japanese Americans (29.6%), Latinos (22.3%), Native Hawaiians (7.4%) and whites (24.6%) who reported coffee intake and other dietary and lifestyle information in a Quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire when they enrolled in the study. Incident HCC cases were identified using national cancer registries, and chronic liver disease deaths were identified using national and state records.

After a median of 18 years of follow-up, 451 participants developed HCC and 654 died of chronic liver disease. High levels of regular (caffeinated) coffee consumption were associated with reduced risk for incident HCC (P trend=.0002) and CLD mortality (P trend<.0001). Decaffeinated coffee intake also was inversely associated with chronic liver disease (P trend<.0001).

Compared with those who did not drink coffee, participants who drank two to three cups per day had a 38% decrease in risk for HCC (RR=0.62; 95% CI, 0.46-0.84) and a 46% reduction in risk for death from chronic liver disease (RR=0.54; 95% CI, 0.42-0.69). Those who drank four or more cups per day had a 41% reduction in HCC risk (RR=0.59; 95% CI, 0.35-0.99) and a 71% reduction in risk for death from chronic liver disease (RR=0.29; 95% CI, 0.17-0.5). These associations were comparable regardless of ethnicity, sex, BMI, smoking status, alcohol intake or diabetes status. High coffee intake was associated with male sex, white ethnicity, higher education, current smoking status, lower BMI, nondiabetes status and alcohol drinking (P<.0001).

“In summary, this large prospective cohort study showed that coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing HCC and mortality from [chronic liver disease] in African Americans, Japanese Americans, Native Hawaiians, Latinos, and whites,” the researchers concluded. “Additional studies are warranted to clarify the protective role of specific constituents in coffee in the development of liver disease and its related mortality.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.