Coffee and beer 'cut risk of aggressive prostate cancer'
Drinking coffee and beer may reduce the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer, two separate studies have revealed.
In the first study, scientists recorded the coffee consumption of almost 50,000 men taking part in a major US health study. Over a period of 20 years, 4,975 of the men developed prostate cancer.
The study found men who drank the most coffee had a 60pc lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer than those who drank no coffee.
Study leader Dr Kathryn Wilson, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, US, said: "Coffee has effects on insulin and glucose metabolism as well as sex hormone levels, all of which play a role in prostate cancer. It was plausible that there may be an association between coffee and prostate cancer."
The results were presented yesterday at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting "Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research" in Houston, Texas.
Helen Rippon, head of research management at The Prostate Cancer Charity, said: "Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and so it is important that we fully understand any impact drinking it has on health.
"The research evidence so far on the relationship between caffeinated drinks and prostate cancer has been quite mixed, and has largely focused on the risk of developing the disease and the role that drinks like tea and coffee might have in cancer prevention. This large-scale study looked instead at whether coffee drinking might influence the aggressiveness of prostate cancer in men who do develop the disease.
"We would not recommend that men cultivate a heavy coffee drinking habit on the back of this research, not least because a high caffeine intake can cause other health problems."
There was more good news in battling the disease from the second study, which suggested that men may now have another excuse to go to the pub.
Research suggests that a compound in beer may also prevent prostate cancer.
Tests showed that the ingredient, xanthohumol, blocked a biological pathway that allows prostate cancer to be fuelled by the male hormone testosterone.
The disease is commonly treated with drugs that act in a similar way.
Previous studies have already suggested that xanthohumol may block the female hormone oestrogen's ability to stimulate breast cancer. Scientists now believe it may have a similar effect in men.