Coffee may benefit those with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer. A study of over 1100 patients published in JAMA Oncology found significant associations for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee with decreased cancer progression and increased survival. Researchers found that participants who drank two to three cups of coffee per day had a 18 percent reduced risk of cancer progression and mortality, more than for those who only drank one cup per day. Even greater benefit in participants who drank more than four cups per day – the risk of death dropped by 36 percent.
How could this be? Coffee and tea rich in compounds such as caffeine, theobromine, and xanthine which have been shown to have both antioxidant and prooxidant anti-cancer effects. Although the research can’t confirm this, it may be that in the situation of advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer the prooxidant activity of coffee phytonutrients are what have the biggest impact against cancer cells, just as vitamin C is also used in higher doses for its prooxidant effects on cancer cells. Coffee compounds may also increase gut motility which could have been contributing to this effect. More research will be needed to elucidate the mechanisms.
Does this mean we should all drink more than four cups per day. Unfortunately not – for everyday consumption, moderation is still the way to go, making sure that this doesn’t impact important health factors such as stress management and sleep.
If you have colorectal cancer, always check with your oncologist before making any dietary changes.