Coffee keeps showing up as one of the healthiest drinks available (not including, of course, over-sugared coffee drinks that have the nutritional profiles of milkshakes) because coffee provides an excellent source of cell-protecting antioxidants. But those healthy compounds aren’t the only story.
An Italian study found that men who drank three or more cups of Italian-style coffee per day (espresso) showed a 53 percent lower risk of prostate cancer. And while the compounds in coffee have been considered one of their best aspects, this research found that caffeine was a primary reason for the beverage’s benefits. When tested on human prostate cancer cells, caffeine stopped them from further development or from spreading out into other tissue.
It’s very likely that espresso is simply another interlocking segment of why the Mediterranean diet is considered so healthy, and like olive oil, should be enjoyed and appreciated to its fullest.
Pounis G, Tabolacci C, Costanzo S, et al. Reduction by coffee consumption of prostate cancer risk: Evidence from the Moli-sani cohort and cellular models. Int J Cancer. 2017 Jul 1;141(1):72-82.
Meta-analytic data on the effect of coffee in prostate cancer risk are controversial. Caffeine as a bioactive compound of coffee has not yet been studied in deep in vitro. Our study aimed at evaluating in a population cohort the effect of Italian-style coffee consumption on prostate cancer risk and at investigating in vitro the potential antiproliferative and antimetastatic activity of caffeine on prostate cancer cell lines. 6,989 men of the Moli-sani cohort aged ≥50 years were followed for a mean of 4.24 ± 1.35 years and 100 new prostate cancer cases were identified. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Food Frequency Questionnaire was used for the dietary assessment and the evaluation of Italian-style coffee consumption. Two human prostate cancer cell lines, PC-3 and DU145, were tested with increasing concentrations of caffeine, and their proliferative/metastatic features were evaluated. The newly diagnosed prostate cancer participants presented lower coffee consumption (60.1 ± 51.3 g/day) compared to the disease-free population (74.0 ± 51.7 g/day) (p < 0.05). Multiadjusted analysis showed that the subjects at highest consumption (>3 cups/day) had 53% lower prostate cancer risk as compared to participants at the lowest consumption (0-2 cups/day) (p = 0.02). Both human prostate cancer cell lines treated with caffeine showed a significant reduction in their proliferative and metastatic behaviors (p < 0.05). In conclusion, reduction by Italian-style coffee consumption of prostate cancer risk (>3 cups/day) was observed in epidemiological level. Caffeine appeared to exert both antiproliferative and antimetastatic activity on two prostate cancer cell lines, thus providing a cellular confirmation for the cohort study results.
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