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Coffee Protects Against Breast Cancer Recurrence

New research supports previous findings

Several research studies have shown that coffee helps to protect against breast cancer. A new study led by researchers at Lund University in Sweden has confirmed that coffee inhibits the growth of tumors and reduces the risk of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with tamoxifen.

The study, which is a follow-up of results that the researchers obtained 2 years ago, was carried out in collaboration with researchers in the United Kingdom.

“Now, unlike in the previous study, we have combined information about the patients’ lifestyle and clinical data from 1,090 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,” say researchers Dr. Ann Rosendahl and Dr. Helena Jernström.

“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.”

In the cell study, the researchers looked more closely at two substances that usually occur in the coffee drunk in Sweden –– caffeine and caffeic acid.

“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.”

The researchers have demonstrated, both in breast cancer patients and at the cellular level, that coffee appears to reinforce the effect of treatment with tamoxifen, but they emphasize the importance of taking prescribed medications.

“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,” the authors say.

Source: Lund University; April 21, 2015.

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