Background: Coffee has been consistently associated with lower risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease, suggesting that coffee affects mechanisms underlying disease development.
Methods: We measured serum metabolites using untargeted metabolomics in 1:1 matched nested case-control studies of liver cancer (n = 221 cases) and fatal liver disease (n = 242 cases) in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention cohort (n = 29 133). Associations between baseline coffee drinking and metabolites were identified using linear regression; conditional logistic regression models were used to identify associations with subsequent outcomes.
Results: Overall, 21 metabolites were associated with coffee drinking and also each subsequent endpoint; nine metabolites and trigonelline, a known coffee biomarker, were identified. Tyrosine and two bile acids, glycochenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA) and glycocholic acid (GCA), were inversely associated with coffee but positively associated with both outcomes; odds ratios (ORs) comparing the 90th to 10th percentile (modeled on a continuous basis) ranged from 3.93 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.00 to 7.74) for tyrosine to 4.95 (95% CI = 2.64 to 9.29) for GCA and from 4.00 (95% CI = 2.42 to 6.62) for GCA to 6.77 (95% CI = 3.62 to 12.65) for GCDCA for liver cancer and fatal liver disease, respectively. The remaining six metabolites and trigonelline were positively associated with coffee drinking but inversely associated with both outcomes; odds ratio ranged from 0.16 to 0.37. Associations persisted following diet adjustment and for outcomes occurring greater than 10 years after blood collection.
Conclusions: A broad range of compounds were associated with coffee drinking, incident liver cancer, and liver disease death over 27 years of follow-up. These associations provide novel insight into chronic liver disease and liver cancer etiology and support a possible hepatoprotective effect of coffee.
Published by Oxford University Press 2019. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.