Increased coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, according to recent data published in the BMJ.

Oliver John Kennedy, from the Primary Care and Population Sciences Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton in the UK, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis to calculate relative risks (RRs) of hepatocellular carcinoma according to caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption. The researchers identified 18 cohorts with 2,272,642 participants and 2905 cases, and 8 case-control studies, involving 1825 cases and 4652 controls.

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The results showed that an extra 2 cups of coffee per day was associated with a 35% reduction in the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (RR, 0.65).

The investigators note that the association was not significantly affected by the stage of liver disease or the presence or absence of high alcohol consumption, high BMI, type 2 diabetes, smoking status, or hepatitis B and C viruses.

Results from the studies that specified coffee type showed that increasing caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption by 2 cups per day was associated with reductions of 27% (RR, 0.73) and 14% (RR, 0.86) in the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. The study authors note that due to a lack of randomized controlled trials, potential publication bias, and the lack of an accepted definition of coffee, the quality of evidence under the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria was considered “very low.”

“This study has shown that an extra 2 cups of coffee per day is associated with a one-third reduction in the [relative risks] of HCC [hepatocellular carcinoma],” the study authors stated.

“Our findings are significant given the increasing incidence of HCC and the overall poor prognosis of this condition. Randomized trials should investigate the effectiveness of increasing coffee consumption in those at risk of HCC including patients with existing CLD [chronic liver disease].”


  1. Kennedy OJ, Roderick P, Buchanan R, Fallowfield JA, Hayes PC, Parkes J. Coffee, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2017. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013739