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Update: 15 June 2016

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has published its review into the scientific evidence related to coffee and cancer, announcing that it has classified coffee in Group 3 for agents ‘not classifiable as to carcinogenicity to humans’. This means that the extensive scientific literature does not show an association between coffee consumption and cancer.

The review, published in The Lancet Oncology, found no clear association between coffee intake and cancer at any body site and, in some cases, found evidence that coffee drinking may actually help reduce occurrence of certain cancers, citing reduced risks for cancers of the liver and uterine endometrium.

To learn more about IARC’s announcement, please read our news alert.

  • Current science suggests that moderate coffee drinking is not associated with an increased risk of cancer at the majority of body sites.
  • Data suggests that there is no association between coffee consumption and increased risk of oesophageal, pancreatic, kidney, prostate, ovarian or skin cancers.
  • Research results also suggest that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of developing cancer at a number of body sites, including the oral cavity/pharynx, liver, brain, colon and rectum.
  • Data for stomach, endometrial and breast cancer is mixed and further studies are needed to clarify these associations.
  • A possible association has been shown between coffee consumption and bladder and lung cancer risk. However, in both cases residual confounding factors, mainly linked to smoking and alcohol consumption, remain. Further studies are needed to confirm the association.

The content in this Topic Overview was last edited in May 2016. Papers in the Latest Research section and further resources are added regularly.

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