Four or more cups of coffee per day may help to reduce a man's risk of prostate cancer recurrence and progression, according to a new study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.[1]

Janet L. Stanford, PhD, co-director of the Program in Prostate Cancer Research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and her colleagues conducted the study to determine whether the bioactive compounds in coffee and tea could affect disease recurrence and progression. They found that men who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day experienced a 59% reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence and/or progression compared with those who drank only 1 or fewer cups per week.

Researchers did not find an association between drinking coffee and reduced mortality from prostate cancer; however, the study had too few men who died of prostate cancer to consider that element separately from the others. In addition, they did not find an associated reduction of prostate cancer recurrence and/or progression from tea consumption, nor were they able to make any conclusions about tea and prostate cancer death.

The authors note that their study is believed to be the first to investigate the potential association between tea consumption and prostate cancer outcomes. Their study was somewhat limited because few participants were regular tea drinkers, and the highest consumption category was 1 or more cups per day. They suggest that the association should be further investigated with larger populations of tea drinkers.

The population-based study included 1001 survivors of prostate cancer who were aged 35 to 74 years at the time of diagnosis. The participants, who were residents of King County, Washington, were asked questions about their diet and beverage consumption 2 years prior to the cancer diagnosis, as well as questions about demographics and lifestyle, family history of cancer, medication use, and prostate cancer screening history.

Researchers then followed up with the patients 5 years after their diagnosis to learn whether the disease had recurred and/ or progressed. Their results are consistent with findings from the Harvard School of Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which found that men who drank 6 or more cups of coffee per day had a 60% decreased risk of metastatic/lethal prostate cancer compared with those who did not drink coffee.

The authors note that further research is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying these results, but they add that biological activities associated with the consumption of the phytochemical compounds found in coffee include antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects as well as modulation of glucose metabolism, all of which are factors that may impact cancer recurrence and progression. Those compounds include caffeine, diterpenes cafestol, kahweol, and chlorogenic acid.

Nevertheless, more details will need to be evaluated because coffee drinking may be problematic in some men. According to first author Milan Geybels, a doctoral student at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, it can cause hypertension and could have a negative impact on coronary health.


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  • 1
    Geybels MS, Neuhouser ML, Wright JL, Stott-Miller M, Stanford JL. Coffee and tea consumption in relation to prostate cancer prognosis. Cancer Causes Control. 2013;24:19471954.