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07-07-2011 | General practice | Article

No relationship between coffee intake and oral-esophageal cancer


Free abstract

MedWire News: A follow-up study of 389,624 Norwegians found no inverse relationship between coffee intake and incidence of cancer in the mouth or esophagus.

There is conflicting evidence on the relationship between coffee intake and cancer of the oral cavity and esophagus. Some studies have shown an inverse relationship, but few follow-up studies have been done.

To determine whether coffee drinking might have preventative value, Vidar Hjellvik and colleagues from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, followed 389,624 men and women aged 40-45 years for cancer outcomes.

The researchers categorized the coffee intake of participants in a national survey program into four groups: 0 or less than 1 cup per day, 1-4, 5-8 and 9 or more cups a day, and followed them for 14.4 years on average. During follow-up 450 squamous oral or esophageal cancers were registered.

Adjusted hazard ratios with 1-4 cups per day as reference were 1.01, 1.16 and 0.96 for 0 or less than 1, 5-8 and 9 or more cups per day respectively. Stratification by gender, smoking, and type of coffee revealed no distinct pattern. There was a positive trend among nonsmokers, with a p value of 0.043, but the researchers caution that this "could be expected by chance when doing multiple testing."

Writing in British Journal of Cancer the researchers conclude: "This study does not support an inverse relationship between coffee intake and cancers in the buccal cavity, pharynx, and esophagus."

They caution that a weak inverse relationship could not be excluded, but note: "Our study is by far the largest prospective study as measured by the number at risk. Potential confounders have been taken into account…"

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Joel Levy

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