• alcohol;
  • cirrhosis;
  • coffee


Objective: Evaluation of the interaction between alcohol intake and cofactors [hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), body mass index] and coffee consumption on the risk of cirrhosis.

Design: Seven hundred and forty-nine consecutive patients with chronic liver disease referring to units for liver or alcohol diseases in Italy during a 6-months period. Teetotalers were excluded. The odds ratios (OR) for cirrhosis were evaluated using chronic hepatitis cases as the control group.

Results: An alcohol intake of more than 3 units/day resulted associated with the likelihood of cirrhosis both in males (OR 4.3; 95% CI=2.5–7.3) and in females (OR 5.7; 95% CI=2.3–14.5). A multiplicative interaction on the risk of cirrhosis between risky alcohol intake and HBsAg or HCV-Ab/HCV-RNA positivity was observed. A reduction of cirrhosis risk was observed in subjects consuming more than 3 alcohol units/day with increasing coffee intake. The OR for the association with cirrhosis decreased from 2.3 (95% CI=1.2–4.4) in subjects drinking 0–2 cups of coffee/day to 1.4 (95% CI=0.6–3.6) in those drinking more than 2 cups/day.

Conclusions: In subjects with an alcohol intake >3 units/day the coexistence of HBV or HCV multiplies the risk of cirrhosis. Coffee represents a modulator of alcoholic cirrhosis risk.