Can coffee stave off prostate cancer?

Can coffee stave off prostate cancer?

For many of us, a cup of coffee is part of a morning ritual to shake off sleepiness or as a pick-me-up during a late-afternoon slump. But can it help decrease a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer? A study conducted by a group of Italian researchers suggests that might be so.

The study involved 7,000 men from central Italy who drank three or more cups of Italian-style coffee a day — that is, coffee prepared using very hot water at high pressure, with no filter. The researchers analyzed participants over a four-year period and compared the rates of prostate cancer over time. In results published in the International Journal of Cancer, they associated the group’s coffee consumption with a 53 percent reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer when compared with prostate cancer cases that did not involve such consumption.

Results were verified in the lab by testing coffee extracts’ effects on prostate cancer cells, the researchers said. Specifically, the team found a caffeinated extract that appeared to inhibit prostate cancer cells from reproducing and spreading. Decaffeinated extract, however, showed no such benefit. The researchers noted that caffeine appears to be the main inhibitor, rather than other substances found in the coffee.

Other studies have suggested similar links between caffeine and the risk of prostate cancer. Yet among other international studies, the team noted, there have been conflicting results.

The team also pointed to the method used to brew the coffee, which they said “could lead to a higher concentration of bioactive substances.” The results, like the coffee, are eye-opening.

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