Authors: Daphne Boulicault
A study has asserted that coffee inhibits tumor growth and reduces the risk of recurrence in women with breast cancer who have also been treated with tamoxifen. Their results confirm previous findings that have suggested that coffee protects against the disease. The research was published recently in the medical journal Clinical Cancer Research.
The report was a follow-up of results obtained by the researchers 2 years ago and was carried out at Lund University and Skåne University Hospital (both Lund, Sweden), in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Bristol (UK).
“Now, unlike in the previous study, we have combined information about the patients’ lifestyle and clinical data from 1090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells. The study shows that among the over 500 women treated with tamoxifen, those who had drunk at least two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence of those who drank less coffee or none at all,” described Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernström (Lund University and Skåne University Hospital).
“The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumors and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumors. We saw that this was already the case at the time of diagnosis,” the authors expanded.
The research team closely analyzed two specific substances, caffeine and caffeic acid, commonly present in coffee drunk in Sweden. “The breast cancer cells reacted to these substances, especially caffeine, with reduced cell division and increased cell death, especially in combination with tamoxifen. This shows that these substances have an effect on the breast cancer cells and turn off signaling pathways that the cancer cells require to grow,” explained Rosendahl and Jernström.
Through this study, the scientists have indicated that coffee appears to reinforce the effects of tamoxifen as a treatment both at the cellular level and for breast cancer patients.
The team were also careful to stress the importance of adherence to prescribed medication however. “They are incredibly important, but if you like coffee and are also taking tamoxifen, there is no reason to stop drinking it. Just two cups a day is sufficient to make a difference,” concludedRosendahl and Jernström