Washington: A new Rutgers study has provided more evidence that caffeine lowers the risk of skin cancer.
The study has strengthened the theory that caffeine guards against certain skin cancers at the molecular level by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin, known as ATR. Scientists believed that based on what they have learned by studying mice, caffeine applied directly to the skin might help prevent damaging UV light from causing skin cancer.
Prior research indicated that mice that were fed caffeinated water and exposed to lamps that generated UVB radiation that damaged the DNA in their skin cells were able to kill off a greater percentage of their badly damaged cells and reduce the risk of cells becoming cancerous.
“Although it is known that coffee drinking is associated with a decreased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, there now needs to be studies to determine whether topical caffeine inhibits sunlight-induced skin cancer,” said Allan Conney, director of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research.
In this newly-published study, instead of inhibiting ATR with caffeinated water, Rutgers researchers, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Washington, genetically modified and diminished ATR in one group of mice.
They found that the genetically modified mice developed tumours more slowly than the unmodified mice, had 69 percent fewer tumours than regular mice and developed four times fewer invasive tumours.
“Caffeine might become a weapon in prevention because it inhibits ATR and also acts ad as a sunscreen and directly absorbs damaging UV light,” said Conney.