Coffee and green tea consumption is associated with upper aerodigestive tract cancer in Japan

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The impact of coffee and green tea consumption on upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) cancer risk has not been established. Evaluation of the possible anticarcinogenic properties of their ingredients is confounded by the potential increase in risk owing to the high temperatures at which these beverages are generally consumed. We conducted a case–control study to evaluate the association between coffee and tea consumption and the risk of UADT cancer. The study enrolled 961 patients with UADT cancer and 2,883 noncancer outpatients who visited Aichi Cancer Center between 2001 and 2005. Information on coffee and green tea consumption and other lifestyle factors was collectedviaa self-administered questionnaire. Consumption of three or more cups of coffee per day had a significant inverse association with UADT cancer [odds ratio (OR) 0.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.55–0.96]. In contrast, consumption of three or more cups of green tea per day had a significant positive association with UADT cancer (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.13–1.70). These associations were evident for head and neck cancer but not for esophageal cancer. The association of coffee consumption with head and neck cancer was observed only among never smokers and alcohol drinkers. Similarly, the association of green tea consumption was observed among never smokers and never alcohol drinkers. No change in these associations was seen on stratification by each confounding factors. These findings suggest that consumption of coffee might be associated with a decreased risk of UADT cancer, whereas that of green tea might be associated with an increased risk.

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Coffee and green tea are both thought to protect against cancer; both contain anti-carcinogenic compounds, including caffeine and antioxidants. However, both drinks are generally consumed hot, and damage caused by hot drinks may contribute to esophageal cancer. In this study, the authors investigated the link between coffee and tea consumption and aerodigestive tract cancers. They found that people who drank 3 or more cups of coffee per day were less likely to develop upper aerodigestive tract cancers, while those who drank green tea had a higher risk.

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