Coffee cuts breast cancer risk, but how is unclear

Coffee cuts breast cancer risk

Conflicting study results suggest coffee might reduce the chances of breast cancer. In a new study, researchers say women who drink more than five cups of the brew daily do seem to be protected from the disease, though the reasons are unclear.

In the new study, scientists found coffee cuts the risks of antiestrogen-resistant estrogen-receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer specifically.

ER negative breast cancer prevention has been the subject of much research. Drugs like tamoxifen, known as aromatase inhibitors, target ER positive types of the disease in high risk women, making the finding especially appealing.

After adjusting for other lifestyle factors, the researchers still found coffee is protective for women who consume the beverage, compared to seldom or non-drinkers.

The scientists also noted the effect doesn't seem to be from phytoestrogens because coffee only seems to protect women from ER-negative types of the disease.

The study comes from researchers at the Karolinska Institutet who say all coffee is not the same.

In a German study, the link between coffee and lower risk of breast cancer was weaker. The study authors suspect it may have something to do with the way the brew is prepared, or the type of coffee bean.

Lifestyle factors that include weight management, smoking cessation and regular exercise reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. Now coffee can be added to the list of breast cancer prevention interventions worth considering, even though the reasons the brew protects are still unknown.

BioMed Central: doi:10.1186/bcr2879

"Coffee consumption modifies risk of estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer"

Jingmei L et al