`Coffee could reduce your risk of common skin cancer`

Updated: Jul 02, 2012, 16:50 PM IST

Washington: Increasing the number of cups of coffee you drink daily could lower your risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer, a new study has claimed, but cautioned that one should not start consuming the beverage excessively based on this finding.

Researchers at Brigham and Women`s Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston found that people who drank more cups of caffeinated coffee had a reduced risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer which causes considerable morbidity despite being a slow-grower.

"Our data indicate that the more caffeinated coffee you consume, the lower your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma," said Jiali Han, who led the research.

"I would not recommend increasing your coffee intake based on these data alone. However, our results add basal cell carcinoma to a list of conditions for which risk is decreased with increasing coffee consumption," Han said.

"The list includes conditions with serious negative health consequences such as type 2 diabetes and Parkinson`s disease."

"Given the large number of newly diagnosed cases, daily dietary changes having any protective effect may have an impact on public health," said Han.

For the study, published in the journal Cancer Research, Han and his colleagues conducted a prospective analysis of data from two long-running study aimed at finding factors that influence people`s health.
Of the 112,897 participants included in the analyses, 22,786 developed basal cell carcinoma during the more than 20 years of follow-up in the two studies.

An inverse association was observed between all coffee consumption and risk of basal cell carcinoma. Similarly, an inverse association was seen between intake of caffeine from all dietary sources (coffee, tea, cola and chocolate) and risk of basal cell carcinoma.

However, consumption of decaffeinated coffee was not associated with a decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma.
"These results really suggest that it is the caffeine in coffee that is responsible for the decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma associated with increasing coffee consumption," Han said.

"This would be consistent with published mouse data,
which indicate caffeine can block skin tumour formation. But, more studies in different population cohorts and additional mechanistic studies will be needed before we can say this definitively," Han said.

In contrast to the findings for basal cell carcinoma, neither coffee consumption nor caffeine intake were inversely associated with the two other forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma -- the most deadly form of the disease.

Only 1,953 cases of squamous cell carcinoma and 741 cases of melanoma were recorded among the study participants. "It is possible that these numbers are insufficient for any association with coffee consumption to be seen," Han added.