A new study has claimed that drinking three cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of developing liver cancer by more than 50 per cent.
However the coffee consumption also reduces risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, by about 40 per cent, according to an up-to-date meta-analysis published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, a journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.
Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, and the third most common cause of cancer death. HCC is the main type of liver cancer, accounting for more than 90 per cent of cases worldwide.
"Our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health, and particularly the liver," said study author Carlo La Vecchia.
"The favourable effect of coffee on liver cancer might be mediated by coffee's proven prevention of diabetes, a known risk factor for the disease, or for its beneficial effects on cirrhosis and liver enzymes," said Vecchia from the department of epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, and department of clinical sciences and community health, Universita degli Studi di Milan, Italy.
Researchers performed a meta-analysis of articles published from 1996 through September 2012, ultimately studying 16 high-quality studies and a total of 3,153 cases.
Despite the consistency of results across studies, time periods and populations, it is difficult to establish whether the association between coffee drinking and HCC is causal, or if this relationship may be partially attributable to the fact that patients with liver and digestive diseases often voluntarily reduce their coffee intake, researchers said.