A study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) shows that the more cups of coffee a person drinks, the lower the risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most commonsolid tumor worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The results of the study were presented at theAnnual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), being held in San Diego, CA, USA, April 5-9, 2014. 
This study found that compared with those who consumed fewer than six cups of coffee per week, those who consumed one to three cups per day had a 29% reduction in their risk for developing HCC, and those who consumed four or more cups per day had a 42% reduction in their risk for developing HCC.
Liver Cancer: Incidence and Mortality
Although the incidence is rising, HCC is relatively uncommon in the United States. According to recent data from the American Cancer Society, there are an estimated 33,190 new cases and 23,000 deaths from liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States in 2014. Both local extension of tumor and extent of liver function impairment affect prognosis and guide selection of treatment.
…the relationship between coffee consumption and lowered risk for HCC was independent of the study participants? ethnicity, gender, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, and diabetes status…
A number of treatments, including liver transplantation, surgical resection, and ablation techniques offer high rates of complete responses, and a potential for cure in early HCC. 
Today, best survivals are achieved when the HCC can be surgically excised by a transplantation or resection. For patients with decompensated cirrhosis and a solitary lesion (<5 cm) or early multifocal disease (3 lesions, 3 cm), the best option is liver transplantation,  but the limited availability of deceased liver donors restricts the use of this approach. Surgical resection is usually performed in patients with localized HCC and sufficient functional hepatic reserve. Among noncurative treatment for HCC, transarterial chemoembolization and sorafenib (Nexavar; Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals) have been shown to improve survival.
Epidemiologic Studies: Lowering Risk
“Coffee intake has been suggested to lower the risk for HCC in epidemiologic studies, but these studies were conducted outside of the United States,” said Wendy Setiawan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles.
“We wanted to examine whether coffee consumption is associated with risk for developing HCC in multiethnic U.S. populations.”
“Data from a diverse group of men and women from various ethnicities followed up for 18 years showed a statistically significant dose-response relationship between increasing coffee consumption and lowered HCC risk,” added Setiawan.
“Now we can add HCC to the list of medical ailments, such as Parkinson?s disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke, that may be prevented by coffee intake. Daily coffee consumption should be encouraged in individuals who are at high risk for HCC.”
Setiawan and colleagues conducted a prospective analysis of 179,890 men and women, which included 45,641 Caucasians, 29,486 African Americans, 13,118 Native Hawaiians, 52,548 Japanese Americans, and 39,097 Latinos. The researchers collected data on coffee consumption and other dietary and lifestyle factors upon study entry and followed them for up to 18 years.
Of the study participants, 498 developed HCC: 67 Caucasians, 73 African Americans, 34 Native Hawaiians, 171 Japanese Americans, and 153 Latinos. The researchers found that the relationship between coffee consumption and lowered risk for HCC was independent of the study participants ethnicity, gender, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, and diabetes status.
Effect of coffee Consumption
They had information on hepatitis B and C infections for 152 participants who developed HCC and 460 participants who did not develop HCC, and found that the effect of coffee consumption on HCC risk was also independent of hepatitis infections. Data, however, fell short of statistical significance.
?The roles of specific coffee components that are actually protective against HCC remain open to discussion,? said Setiawan. Her team will next examine whether coffee consumption is associated with incidence and mortality associated with various chronic liver diseases across ethnic groups.
Setiawan declares no conflicts of interest.
For more information:
 Llovet JM, Burroughs A, Bruix J.Hepatocellular carcinoma. Lancet. 2003 Dec 6;362(9399):1907-17.[Article][PubMed]
 Bosch FX, Ribes J, Diaz M, Cl?ries R. Primary liver cancer: worldwide incidence and trends. Gastroenterology. 2004 Nov;127(5 Suppl 1):S5-S16.[Article][PubMed]
 Altekruse SF, McGlynn KA, Reichman ME. Hepatocellular carcinoma incidence, mortality, and survival trends in the United States from 1975 to 2005. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Mar 20;27(9):1485-91. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.20.7753. [Article][PubMed]
 American Cancer Society (ACS): Cancer Facts and Figures 2014. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2014.Available onlineLast accessed April 9, 2014
 Llovet JM, Ricci S, Mazzaferro V, Hilgard P, Gane E, Blanc JF, de Oliveira AC, Santoro A, et al.Sorafenib in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 2008 Jul 24;359(4):378-90. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0708857. [Article][PubMed]
 Llovet JM, Bruix J. Systematic review of randomized trials for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: Chemoembolization improves survival. Hepatology. 2003 Feb;37(2):429-42.[Article][PubMed]
 Camm C, Schepis F, Orlando A, Albanese M, Shahied L, Trevisani F, et al. Transarterial chemoembolization for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Radiology. 2002 Jul;224(1):47-54.[Article][PubMed]
Photo:Wendy Setiawan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine. Photo Courtesy: USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, CA.
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