Coffee and tea drinking in relation to the risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study

Eur J Nutr. 2019 Dec;58(8):3303-3312. doi: 10.1007/s00394-018-1874-z. Epub 2018 Dec 10.


Purpose: Coffee and tea constituents have shown several anti-carcinogenic activities in cellular and animal studies, including against thyroid cancer (TC). However, epidemiological evidence is still limited and inconsistent. Therefore, we aimed to investigate this association in a large prospective study.

Methods: The study was conducted in the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) cohort, which included 476,108 adult men and women. Coffee and tea intakes were assessed through validated country-specific dietary questionnaires.

Results: During a mean follow-up of 14 years, 748 first incident differentiated TC cases (including 601 papillary and 109 follicular TC) were identified. Coffee consumption (per 100 mL/day) was not associated either with total differentiated TC risk (HRcalibrated 1.00, 95% CI 0.97-1.04) or with the risk of TC subtypes. Tea consumption (per 100 mL/day) was not associated with the risk of total differentiated TC (HRcalibrated 0.98, 95% CI 0.95-1.02) and papillary tumor (HRcalibrated 0.99, 95% CI 0.95-1.03), whereas an inverse association was found with follicular tumor risk (HRcalibrated 0.90, 95% CI 0.81-0.99), but this association was based on a sub-analysis with a small number of cancer cases.

Conclusions: In this large prospective study, coffee and tea consumptions were not associated with TC risk.

Keywords: Coffee; Cohort; EPIC; Intake; Tea; Thyroid cancer.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Papillary / epidemiology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coffee*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tea*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / epidemiology*


  • Coffee
  • Tea