An article published on January 20, 2015 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals the finding of Erikka Loftfield, MPH, and her colleagues of an association between increased coffee consumption and a reduced risk of malignant melanoma.
The analysis included 447,357 participants in the National Institutes of Health-AARP prospective study initiated in 1995-1996. Dietary questionnaires completed upon enrollment were evaluated for the intake of regular and decaffeinated coffee. The subjects were followed for a median of 10.5 years, during which 2,904 cases of malignant melanoma were diagnosed.
A trend was observed between increasing coffee intake and a decreasing risk of malignant melanoma over follow-up. Among men and women who consumed four or more cups of coffee per day, there was an adjusted 20% lower risk of developing malignant melanoma in comparison with the risk experienced by those who were non-coffee drinkers. The protective effect of coffee drinking was observed only in association with coffee that was not decaffeinated and was restricted to those with malignant melanoma as opposed to melanoma in situ.
In their discussion of the findings, the authors suggest several mechanisms to explain the protective effect of coffee against malignant melanoma. “Coffee contains numerous bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, diterpenes, trigonelline, and caffeine,” they write. “The predominant chlorogenic acid in coffee, 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid, and to a greater extent its metabolite caffeic acid, have been shown to suppress UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis in mouse epidermal cells by inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX-2) expression. COX-2, which is overexpressed in response to UVB exposure and in human melanoma cells compared with normal melanocytes, is thought to play a functional role in the development and progression of malignant melanoma.”
“Because of its high disease burden, lifestyle modifications with even modest protective effects may have a meaningful impact on melanoma morbidity,” they conclude.
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