1. Objective: The objective of this study was to check whether coffee intake can help protect against fatal oral/pharyngeal cancers in a large US prospective cohort study.
2. Study design: The study included individuals from among the 1 million plus (men and women, average age 57 years) participants of the Cancer Prevention Study II by the American Cancer Society. The study participants completed a confidential questionnaire designed to obtain information about behavioral, dietary habits and family health history including cancer.
3. Strength of study design: The study described by Hildebrand J. and others (2012) was large and included participants from different regions of the US who were cancer free on enrollment. In addition, these questionnaire studies are usually reproducible and consistent with stable daily caffeine intake. It was a prospective study with good follow up in the long term.
4. Limitations of study design: Information on oral HPV status of participants was unknown. The study participants were not ethnically diverse and tended to be older white males.
5. Method of study: Study participants were classified into various groups based on their daily intake of caffeinated coffee which varied from 0 cups to more than 4 cups daily. More than 60 percent of study participants reported consumption of at least 1 cup of caffeinated coffee per day with 3 cups being the average per day. 6. Results: In this study, consumption of more than 4 cups of coffee per day was associated with a 49 percent reduced risk of death from oral/pharyngeal cancer relative to no or occasional coffee consumption per day. The outcome of this study included both risk and survival after oral cancer diagnosis.
7. Limitations of the findings of the study: The study findings are not directly comparable to lower relative risks found in studies with incident cancer. The effects of caffeine on other types of cancers and the mechanisms of protection from caffeine are not explored in this study.
8: Conclusion of the study: Coffee is a widely consumed beverage worldwide. It may help protect against fatal oral cancers since it contains multiple biologically active compounds.
Hildebrand J, Patel VA, McCullough ML et al., (2012), Coffee, Tea and Fatal Oral/Pharyngeal Cancer in a Large Prospective US Cohort, American Journal of Epidemiology