Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is a cancer arising from the liver cells (hepatocytes). Symptoms include abdominal pain or tenderness, jaundice, enlarged abdomen, and easy bruising or bleeding1. Associations with the occurrence of liver cancer include Cirrhosis, alcohol, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
HBV is a virus which primarily causes inflammation of the liver. Symptoms include fatigue, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, and light stools. Diagnosis is by blood test3.
HCV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. HCV can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer4.
Impact of coffee on HCC, HBV and HCV
These are a collection of results from various cohort and case/control studies on the impact of coffee (caffeine) on the development of HCC. The in two cohort studies of of Japanese patients (one with 22,404 patients and one with 38,703 patients), 117 subjects developed primary liver cancers. All subjects completed questionnaires on coffee, tea, and alcohol consumption, as well smoking and tobacco use habits. The occasional or daily intake of a minimum of 1 cup of coffee had an associated reduction in risk HCC development of P trend < .024. The reduction of liver cancer risk was seen in those with a history of liver disease (such as HBV, HBC and cirrhosis). This reduction was P= .47. Despite the presence of caffeine in tea, consumption of it (both green and black were studied) did not protect against HCC.
In a case/control study of patients already diagnosed with HCC, they were stratified by underlying HBV and HCV infection, age, sex, diet, history of liver disease, and lifestyle factors. Occasional or daily coffee drinkers had a reduction of HCC compared with the participants who did not drink coffee. As daily coffee intake increased, the risk for HCC declined further; P trend < .001.
Patients with HCV had a reduced risk of HCC with coffee consumption. Those with HBV did not.
It was seen in another study that HCC development was associated with elevated GGT levels. Patients who had elevated GGT levels and did NOT regularly consume coffee had a 9-fold increased risk of developing liver cancer. 5