Background: Coffee consumption has been shown to be associated with cancer of various sites in epidemiological studies. However, there is no comprehensive overview of the substantial body of epidemiologic evidence.
Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded and bibliographies of retrieved articles. Prospective cohort studies were included if they reported relative risks (RRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of various cancers with respect to frequency of coffee intake. We did random-effects meta-analyses and meta-regressions of study-specific incremental estimates to determine the risk of cancer associated with 1 cup/day increment of coffee consumption.
Results: 59 studies, consisting of 40 independent cohorts, met the inclusion criteria. Compared with individuals who did not or seldom drink coffee per day, the pooled RR of cancer was 0.87 (95% CI, 0.82-0.92) for regular coffee drinkers, 0.89 (0.84-0.93) for low to moderate coffee drinkers, and 0.82 (0.74-0.89) for high drinkers. Overall, an increase in consumption of 1 cup of coffee per day was associated with a 3% reduced risk of cancers (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.96-0.98). In subgroup analyses, we noted that, coffee drinking was associated with a reduced risk of bladder, breast, buccal and pharyngeal, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, hepatocellular, leukemic, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.
Conclusions: Findings from this meta-analysis suggest that coffee consumption may reduce the total cancer incidence and it also has an inverse association with some type of cancers.