Although early studies suggested that coffee consumption might increase risk of some cancers, more comprehensive epidemiological and experimental data now generally indicate either neutral or beneficial effects. In this review, we summarize the current evidence for associations between breast, prostate, colorectal, and liver cancers and the consumption of coffee, and discuss the experimental evidence for potential chemopreventive mechanisms of coffee and coffee constituents. The epidemiological evidence consistently indicates that coffee protects against liver cancer, and also point toward protective effects for risk of colorectal cancers (with relative risks of 0.50 (95% CI: 0.42-0.59) and 0.83 (95% CI: 0.75-0.92), respectively, in the most recent meta-analyses). There seems to be no association between the overall risk of breast and prostate cancer and coffee intake. However, for subgroups such as postmenopausal breast cancers, advanced prostate cancers, and breast and prostate cancer survivors, an inverse association with coffee intake is indicated. Potential mechanisms for chemopreventive effects of coffee phytochemicals includes inhibition of oxidative stress and oxidative damage, regulation of DNA repair, phase II enzymatic activity, apoptosis, inflammation, as well as having antiproliferative, antiangiogenetic effects and antimetastatic effects. The experimental evidence for effects of coffee and coffee constituents on each of these processes is discussed.
Keywords: Cancer; Coffee; Inflammation; Phytochemicals; Stress defense.
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