Background/aims: The role of coffee in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is debated. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of coffee in HCC, taking the main risk factors into account.
Methods: A hospital-based case-control study was conducted in an area of northern Italy. We recruited 250 HCC cases and 500 controls hospitalized for any reasons other than neoplasms, and liver and alcohol-related diseases. Subjects were interviewed on their lifetime history of coffee consumption using a standardized questionnaire.
Results: Coffee consumption in the decade before the interview was associated with a decreasing risk of HCC with a clear dose-effect relation. With respect to non-drinking subjects, the odds ratios (ORs) were: 0.8, (95% CI 0.4-1.3) for 1-2 cups/day, 0.4 (95% CI 0.2-0.8) for 3-4 cups/day and 0.3 (95% CI 0.1-0.7) for 5 or more cups/day. The ORs for HCC decreased for drinking >2, compared to 0-2 cups/day of coffee, for an alcohol intake >80 g/day (OR from 5.7 to 3.3), for presence of hepatitis B virus infection (OR from 16.4 to 7.3) or hepatitis C virus infection (OR from 38.2 to 9.0).
Conclusions: Coffee drinking was inversely associated with HCC regardless of its aetiology.