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Heavy Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk for Liver Cancer

Reasons for relationship still unclear

THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Heavy coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of liver cancer, according to a study published in the August issue of Hepatology.

Francesca Bravi, M.D., of the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 10 hepatocellular carcinoma studies that included information on coffee consumption covering 2,260 patients. There were 6 case-control studies covering 1,551 cases in southern Europe and Japan, and 4 cohort studies covering 709 cases in Japan.

They found that although there was wide variance among the studies, the summary relative risk for coffee drinkers versus non-drinkers was 0.54 among the case-control studies and 0.64 among the cohort studies. For low or moderate coffee drinkers, the overall summary risk ratio was 0.70, while the ratio was 0.45 for heavy coffee drinkers.

The authors conceded that the link may be spurious; for example, patients with digestive tract diseases, liver disorders, and cirrhosis may reduce their coffee consumption, even though this is typically not a routine recommendation.

"The results from this meta-analysis provide quantitative evidence of an inverse relation between coffee drinking and liver cancer," the authors wrote. "The interpretation of this association remains, however, unclear and the consequent inference on causality and worldwide public health implications remains open for discussion."

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