London: A new study has suggested that increasing coffee consumption may help to stave off liver cancer. According to researchers, people who drink more coffee are less likely to develop hepatocellular cancer (HCC), the most common form of primary liver cancer – and the effect was even found in decaffeinated coffee.
Experts from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh examined data from 26 studies involving more than 2.25 million participants.
Compared with people who drank no coffee, those who drank one cup a day had a 20% lower risk of developing HCC, according to the study, published in the journal BMJ Open.
Those who consumed two cups a day had a 35% reduced risk and for those who drank five cups, the risk was halved. They found the protective effect for decaf was “smaller and less certain than for caffeinated coffee”.
The authors wrote: “It may be important for developing coffee as a lifestyle intervention in chronic liver disease, as decaffeinated coffee might be more acceptable to those who do not drink coffee or who limit their coffee consumption because of caffeine-related symptoms.”
Lead author Dr Oliver Kennedy, of the University of Southampton, said that coffee is widely believed to possess a range of health benefits, and these latest findings suggest it could have a significant effect on liver cancer risk.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2015, 4,673 new cases of liver cancer were diagnosed in England.