The role of coffee in the aetiology of hepatocellular carcinoma has raised great interest. In Italy, coffee consumption is high, thus allowing the investigation of the topic over a broad range of consumption. A hospital-based case-control study was conducted in Italy in 1999-2002, including 185 incidents, histologically confirmed cases of hepatocellular carcinoma aged 43-84 years. Controls were 412 subjects admitted to the same hospitals' networks for acute, non-neoplastic diseases unrelated to diet. Coffee and tea consumption were assessed using a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding the 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using unconditional multiple logistic regression, adjusting for hepatitis viruses seropositivity, alcohol intake, smoking habits and other potential confounding factors. Compared to people who drunk <14 cups/week of coffee, the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma decreased for increasing levels of consumption (OR=0.4, 95% CI: 0.2-1.1 for >or=28 cups/week, p for trend = 0.02). In the present study, inverse relations were observed across strata of hepatitis C and, B virus infections and alcohol drinking. No significant association emerged with consumption of decaffeinated coffee (OR=0.7, 95% CI=0.2-2.5) or tea (OR=1.4, 95% CI=0.8-2.7). The present study supports the hypothesis of a favourable effect of coffee, though not decaffeinated coffee and tea, on the risk on hepatocellular carcinoma.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.