Coffee Has Protective Effect Against Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers

Protective effect less clear for cutaneous melanoma.

Protective effect less clear for cutaneous melanoma.

The consumption of coffee has been found to provide a prophylactic against non-melanoma skin cancer, but the protective effect against malignant and in-situ melanoma is unclear, a recent study finds.

The study, published the January 20, 2015 issue of JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, sought to evaluate whether there is a link between coffee consumption and the risk of cutaneous melanoma, utilizing data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.

Coffee consumption data was taken from 447,357 non-Hispanic white subjects who took a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire in 1995-1996, with a median follow-up of 10 years. All of the subjects were cancer-free at baseline.

Adjustments were made for ambient residential ultraviolet radiation exposure, body mass index, age, sex, physical activity, alcohol intake, and smoking history, the study noted.

The highest coffee intake was found to be inversely associated with the risk of malignant melanoma, with a 20% lower risk for people who consumed 4 cups of coffee per day or more. The level of protection was also linked with higher coffee intake, as the protective effect increased from 1 or fewer cups to 4 cups or more.

The protective effect was only determined to be significant with caffeinated coffee, but not decaffeinated coffee, however. Additionally the protective properties of coffee was only found to be present against malignant melanoma, but not for melanoma in-situ, which the researchers believe may have a different etiology.

As the results of the study are only preliminary, and may not apply to other populations, additional evaluations of coffee intake are necessary.

"Because of its high disease burden, lifestyle modifications with even modest protective effects may have a meaningful impact on melanoma morbidity,” the study authors wrote.