Study Suggests Coffee Reduces ER[-] Breast Cancer Risk
Posted May 13 2011 3:28pm
Coffee consumption has been linked to a number of possible health benefits, including a potential reduction in the risk for some cancers. This potential reduction in cancer risk is thought to be due to the polyphenolic antioxidants present in coffee and their ability to protect cellular DNA from oxidative damage . While a number of studies suggest that coffee decreases breast cancer risk, other studies suggest that breast cancer risk is not reduced by coffee. These inconsistencies are likely due to a number of factors including caffeine content and antioxidant content of the coffee as well as differences between breast cancer subtypes.
A new breast cancer research study ( free to download ) examined the association between coffee intake and breast cancer risk based on different breast cancer subtypes. Information on coffee consumption as well as other lifestyle factors was collected from 2,818 breast cancer patients and 3,111 women without breast cancer and compared. Breast cancer subtype information was obtained from medical records and links between coffee consumption and breast cancer subtypes were analyzed. The study investigators reported that
Drinking more than 5 cups of coffee per day modestly reduced overall breast cancer risk by 20% compared to drinking less than 1 cup of coffee per day when data was adjusted for age.
This protective effect of coffee drinking on overall breast cancer risk disappeared when other lifestyle factors (HRT use, smoking, and alcohol consumption) were taken into consideration.
When breast cancer subtypes were examined individually, drinking more than 5 cups of coffee reduced ER[-] breast cancer risk by 57% and decreased progesterone receptor-negative (PR[-]) breast cancer by 33%.
The benefit of coffee drinking was greater for ER[-] breast cancer than ER[+] breast cancer where the risk for ER[+] breast cancer was only reduced by only 13% with high levels of coffee consumption.
These are intriguing research results that will likely spur additional research. One of this study's strengths is that a large study population was available, suggesting that the observed benefits of drinking coffee for breast cancer risk might be real. Additionally, these results indicate the coffee consumption only reduces the risk of some types of breast cancer. Further research will likely be done to determine if the benefits of drinking coffee apply to other subtypes of breast cancer. Also, it remains uncertain what component or components of coffee (caffeine, one of more of the antioxidants, or some combination of these phytonutrients) are responsible for reducing breast cancer risk. However, if you enjoy the taste of a good cup of coffee or two in the morning, you might now have an extra reason to pour yourself a cup!