Drinking tea or coffee, with or without caffeine, has no impact on the risk for prostate cancer, according to the results of a large European study.
The study, “Coffee and tea composition and risk of prostate cancer in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition,” was published in the International Journal of Cancer in June 2018.
While certain factors are known to increase the risk for prostate cancer — such as older age, race (black men are more at risk), and a family history of prostate cancer — the causes for prostate cancer remain unclear.
Moreover, dietary factors that might promote prostate cancer are also not well-established.
Coffee and tea are the two most widely consumed beverages in the world, and have been suggested to reduce the risk of prostate cancer due to their anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. However, studies in prostate cancer patients have provided inconsistent results.
Therefore, a group of European researchers conducted a large prospective study that explored the link between total (caffeinated and decaffeinated) coffee and tea consumption, and the risk for prostate cancer.
To understand how coffee and tea intake correlated with the incidence of total prostate cancer, as well as the disease stage, the team used data collected from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.
EPIC has more than half a million participants from 10 European countries. For this study, researchers analyzed a total of 142,196 men from Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.
Together with clinical outcomes, EPIC participants undertook a comprehensive country-specific food questionnaire that allowed the researchers to obtain data on coffee and tea consumption. After 14 years on average of follow-up, 7,036 men from the original population were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
At time of enrollment, 95% of the participants drank coffee, 53% drank only caffeinated coffee, 23% drank only decaffeinated coffee, and about 53% drank tea. Denmark was the country with the highest median consumption of coffee (900 milliliters/day), whereas Italy was the country with the lowest volume (91 milliliters/day).
Caffeinated coffee had a higher consumption rate in the Netherlands (542 milliliters/day) and lowest in Spain (2 milliliters/day). For tea, the U.K. was the country with the highest intake (475 milliliters/day), and Greece had the lowest intake (0.5 milliliters/day).
Researchers found no link between men with the highest and lowest coffee intake, and their risk for total prostate cancer, and cancer stage, grade, and survival rate. Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee also showed no association with prostate cancer risk. The same was seen with tea intake. Furthermore, the prostate cancer risk for non-drinkers of coffee or tea was found to be similar to the consumers of those beverages.
These findings support “no evidence of association between coffee or tea consumption and the risk of prostate cancer,” the study concluded.