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Coffee erases liver cancer risk caused by daily alcohol consumption

Researchers say the mechanism for coffee's anti-cancer effects isn't clear, and more research is needed.
By Brooks Hays   |   March 28, 2015 at 3:14 PM

LONDON, March 28 (UPI) -- Boozers are at heightened risk of liver cancer, but research suggests regular coffee consumption can diminish damage caused by regular alcohol consumption.

According to a new survey published by researchers with the London-based World Cancer Research Fund, drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with liver cancer.

The findings, included in WCRF's Liver Cancer 2015 report, are based on the analysis of some 34 scientific studies -- research comprising health data from more than 8 million men and women and 24,600 cases of liver cancer.

The same bevy of studies that found a positive correlation between three daily drinks and liver cancer also found that regular coffee consumption was associated with a decreased risk of liver cancer.

Researchers say the mechanism for coffee's anti-cancer effects isn't clear, and more research is needed.

"Mechanisms that support a protective effect of coffee on liver cancer relate largely to studies in animals, although some human studies contribute to the evidence," researchers wrote in the recently release report.

"Both coffee and coffee extracts have also been shown to reduce the expression of genes involved in inflammation, and the effects appear to be most pronounced in the liver," the report concludes.

The survey also found that a significant amount of research suggests a link between aflatoxins and liver cancer. Aflatoxins are toxins produced by mold.

"Aflatoxins are produced by inadequate storage of food, and are generally an issue related to foods from warmer, developing regions of the world," WCRF researchers explained in a summary of the report. "Foods that may be affected by aflatoxins include cereals, spices, peanuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, chillies, black pepper, dried fruit and figs."

Liver cancer is the second deadliest type of cancer worldwide. In 2012, 746,000 people died from liver cancer.

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