An international team led by researchers at the School of Public Health, Imperial College London in United Kingdom revealed that coffee consumption reduces the risk of endometrial cancer in women. The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and is entitled “Investigation of Dietary Factors and Endometrial Cancer Risk Using a Nutrient-wide Association Study Approach in the EPIC and Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHSII.”
Endometrial cancer is a cancer in the woman’s uterus. It starts in the layer of cells that form the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. In the United States, endometrial cancer is considered the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs eventually afflicting 1 in every 37 women. The disease is, however, rare in women under the age of 45. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that approximately 54,870 women will be diagnosed with the endometriosis in 2015 resulting in 10,170 deaths. This type of cancer is often detected at an early stage as the first sign is usually abnormal vaginal bleeding, which prompts women to visit their doctors. The main treatment option is surgical removal of the uterus.
The exact causes of endometrial cancer are not clear, but it has been suggested that factors like obesity, diabetes, hormonal imbalances and an unhealthy diet can contribute to the risk of developing this type of cancer. In the study, researchers analyzed the impact of dietary factors on the risk of endometrial cancer.
The research team assessed 1,303 women with endometrial cancer who had participated in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. Researchers analyzed data on dietary questionnaires and investigated the possible link between 84 specific foods and nutrients and the risk of endometrial cancer.
Researchers identified nine foods/nutrients potentially linked (positively or negatively) to the risk of endometrial cancer, namely carbohydrates, total fat, monounsaturated fat, butter, phosphorus, cheese, potatoes, yogurt and coffee.
To validate the results, the team analyzed another 1,531 women with endometrial cancer who had participated in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) or Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII). Researchers were unable to confirm their results for eight of the dietary factors in the NHS/NHSII cohorts, with the only exception being coffee. Coffee was found to be negatively associated with endometrial cancer risk in the three studies analyzed. The team found that women who consume three to four cups of coffee per day have a reduction in the endometrial cancer risk by 19% (EPIC cohort) or 18% (NHS/NHSII cohorts) in comparison to women who don’t drink coffee or drink less than one cup per day.
“Coffee intake is worth investigating further to see if coffee can be used for the prevention of endometrial cancer” said the study’s lead author Dr. Melissa A. Merritt in a news release. “However, before clinical recommendations can be made, further studies are needed to evaluate this question in other studies and to try to isolate the components of coffee that may be responsible for any influence on endometrial cancer.”