Coffee Intake May Lower Endometrial Cancer Risk

Coffee Intake May Lower Endometrial Cancer Risk

Women who drank about four cups of coffee per day appeared to have decreased endometrial cancer risk compared with those who drank less than a cup each day, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
“We used a ‘nutrient-wide association study,’ a new approach to systematically evaluate the association of dietary factors with endometrial cancer risk,” says Melissa A. Merritt, PhD, a research fellow in cancer epidemiology at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. “This approach was inspired by genome-wide association studies that look at genetic risk factors for cancer, but in our case we investigated 84 foods and nutrients in place of genes as risk factors for endometrial cancer.
“We confirmed observations from previous studies that having a high versus low intake of coffee was associated with a reduced risk for endometrial cancer, and for most other dietary factors there was no association with endometrial cancer risk,” Merritt adds.

“Coffee intake is worth investigating further to see if coffee can be used for the prevention of endometrial cancer. However, before clinical recommendations can be made, further studies are needed to evaluate this question in other studies and to try to isolate the components of coffee that may be responsible for any influence on endometrial cancer,” Merritt says.

Merritt and colleagues evaluated the association of 84 foods and nutrients based on dietary questionnaires from a prospective cohort study, the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. They then validated nine foods and nutrients identified from the EPIC study as having associations with endometrial cancer risk in two prospective cohort studies, the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHSII, two cohorts based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, respectively.
Among the EPIC study participants, those who drank about three cups of coffee per day (750 g/day) had a 19% lower risk for endometrial cancer compared with those who drank less than one cup of coffee per day. Among the NHS/NHSII participants, those who drank about four cups of coffee per day (1,000 g/day) had an 18% lower risk for endometrial cancer compared with those who never drank coffee.

This study focused on 1,303 endometrial cancer cases in the EPIC study, and 1,531 endometrial cancer cases from the NHS/NHSII studies.
The nine foods/nutrients that were found to have associations with endometrial cancer in the EPIC cohort were total fat, monounsaturated fat, carbohydrates, phosphorus, butter, yogurt, cheese, potatoes, and coffee.

Total fat, monounsaturated fat, and phosphorus were associated with decreased risk for endometrial cancer, and carbohydrates and butter intake were associated with increased risk for endometrial cancer in the EPIC cohort, but these findings could not be validated in the NHS/NHSII cohorts.

Women’s Height Linked to Cancer Risk

Women’s Height Linked to Cancer Risk

The taller a postmenopausal woman is, the greater her risk for developing cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Women’s Height

Height was linked to cancers of the breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, ovary, rectum, and thyroid, as well as to multiple myeloma and melanoma, and these associations did not change even after adjusting for factors known to influence these cancers, in this study of 20,928 postmenopausal women, identified from a large cohort of 144,701 women recruited to the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).

“We were surprised at the number of cancer sites that were positively associated with height. In this data set, more cancers are associated with height than were associated with body mass index,” said Geoffrey Kabat, PhD, senior epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York. “Ultimately, cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, so it makes sense that hormones or other growth factors that influence height may also influence cancer risk.”

Some genetic variations associated with height are also linked to cancer risk, and more studies are needed to better understand how these height-related genetic variations predispose some men and women to cancer, according to the study’s authors.

Kabat and colleagues used data from the WHI, a large, multicenter study that recruited postmenopausal women between the ages 50 and 79, between 1993 and 1998. At study entry, the women answered questions about physical activity, and their height and weight were measured. 

The researchers identified 20,928 women who had been diagnosed with one or more invasive cancers during the follow-up of 12 years. To study the effect of height, they accounted for many factors influencing cancers, including age, weight, education, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, and hormone therapy. 

They found that for every 10-centimeter (3.94 inches) increase in height, there was a 13% increase in risk of developing any cancer. Among specific cancers, there was a 13% to 17% increase in the risk of getting melanoma and cancers of the breast, ovary, endometrium, and colon. There was a 23% to 29% increase in the risk of developing cancers of the kidney, rectum, thyroid, and blood.

Of the 19 cancers studied, none showed a negative association with height.

Because the ability to screen for certain cancers could have influenced the results, the researchers added the participants’ mammography, Pap, and colorectal cancer screening histories to the analyses and found the results remained unchanged.

“Although it is not a modifiable risk factor, the association of height with a number of cancer sites suggests that exposures in early life, including nutrition, play a role in influencing a person’s risk of cancer,” said Kabat. “There is currently a great deal of interest in early-life events that influence health in adulthood. Our study fits with this area.”

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