Coffee Drinking and Reduced Risk of Liver Cancer: Update on Epidemiological Findings and Potential Mechanisms

Curr Nutr Rep. 2019 Sep;8(3):182-186. doi: 10.1007/s13668-019-0274-1.


Purpose of review: We reviewed the available literature on observational studies, meta-analyses, expert reports, and umbrella reviews. Here, we summarize the latest findings on the association between coffee intake and liver cancer risk.

Recent findings: Most observational studies and meta-analyses show a protective effect of coffee intake on liver cancer risk, with dose-responsiveness and across different populations, and regardless of hepatitis virus infection status. Risk reduction by coffee consumption has also been observed for chronic liver diseases. Potential mechanisms include the effect of a number of bioactive compounds such as caffeine, chlorogenic acids, phenolic compounds and diterpenes; antioxidant properties; induction of defense mechanisms; and anti-inflammatory properties. Other potential mechanisms include improvement in insulin sensitivity and prevention of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Accumulated evidence, with consistency across study designs and populations, suggests that coffee intake probably reduces the risk of liver cancer. Future research should aim to elucidate the mechanism of this preventive effect with establishing the causality of an association.

Keywords: Causality; Coffee; Dose-response; Epidemiology; Liver cancer; Mechanism; Reduced risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Chlorogenic Acid
  • Coffee*
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Drinking Behavior*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*


  • Antioxidants
  • Coffee
  • Chlorogenic Acid
  • Caffeine