Liver Cancer Could Be Reduced By Drinking Coffee

A group of friends making a toast with coffee.
Drinking at least one cup of coffee could help reduce the risk of developing liver cancer. Copyright: IKO / 123RF Stock Photo
  • Coffee drinking could have real benefits in reducing, even preventing liver cancer according to a new study.
  • Even drinking one cup of coffee could reduce the risk of developing liver cancer by 20%
  • Drinking 5 cups of coffee a day could prevent liver cancer by half is one conclusion.

Latest research suggests that liver cancer might be prevented by drinking coffee. There are some bold headlines out there which make extraordinary claims for coffee drinking including this one. However, a new overview of 26 studies covering 2.25 million people suggests that coffee drinking probably has some major benefits where reducing the incidence of liver cancer is concerned. It has already been shown in earlier research that coffee can reduce liver cirrhosis which is another extremely serious condition.

Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer. It is common in those of us with damaged livers, men and the incidence increases with age. Symptoms of any liver cancer include abdominal pain, easy bruising, jaundice and unexplained weight loss.

Researchers at the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh examined data from 26 studies which covered 2.25 million people. Comparing the data between coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers, they found that even if one cup of coffee was drunk, there was roughly a 20 per cent lower risk of developing HCC. The research is available in the open access section of the British Medical Journal.

The more cups of coffee drunk, the better the level of prevention ! If 2 cups of coffee were consumed, there was a 35 per cent reduced risk and if 5 cups were consumed, there was a 50 per cent reduction. Halving the risk of developing liver cancer is quite a statement and clearly the evidence and the reasons why bear further examination in future research.

Decaffeinated Coffee

Even drinking decaffeinated coffee had a benefit which indicates that compounds in coffee other than caffeine were beneficial. However, the researchers discovered the protective effect for decaffeinated coffee was “smaller and less certain than for caffeinated coffee”.

To quote from the study:-

“It may be important for developing coffee as a lifestyle intervention in chronic liver disease, as decaffeinated coffee might be more acceptable to those who do not drink coffee or who limit their coffee consumption because of caffeine-related symptoms.”


Dr Oliver Kennedy, who is the lead author of the study from the University of Southampton, has stated elsewhere: “Coffee is widely believed to possess a range of health benefits, and these latest findings suggest it could have a significant effect on liver cancer risk.”

He goes on to say that coffee drinking still has warnings associated with it and more research is needed to examine the harmful aspects. Pregnant women should not drink large quantities of coffee because of the caffeine content for example.

Professor Peter Hayes, of the University of Edinburgh, added: “We have shown that coffee reduces cirrhosis and also liver cancer in a dose-dependent manner.”


We have written earlier articles on the benefits of drinking coffee associated with a reduction in liver cirrhosis, colon cancer, prostate cancer, multiple sclerosis and even atherosclerosis.

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