Drinking more than three cups of coffee a day may reduce prostate cancer risk by more than 50 per cent, show results of a study on 7,000 Italian men.
The findings were then validated in laboratory studies which suggested that the coffee substance caffeine might have some protective effect against cancer.
The study sheds light on the role of coffee prepared the Italian way, and specifically caffeine, in relation to prostate cancer.
"We should keep in mind that the study is conducted on a central Italy population,” Licia Iacoviello from IRCCS Neuromed noted.
Italians prepare their coffee rigorously, under high pressure, with very high water temperature and without filters.
"This method, different from those followed in other areas of the world, could lead to a higher concentration of bioactive substances," said Iacoviello.
About 7,000 men who participated in the study were observed for four years on average.
"The observations on cancer cells allow us to say that the beneficial effect observed among the 7,000 participants is most likely due to caffeine, rather than to the many other substances contained in coffee,” said Maria Benedetta Donati from Institute for Research, Hospitalisation and Health Care (IRCCS) Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy.
They tested both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties. Only caffeinated coffee extracts significantly reduced cancer cell proliferation and metastasization. This effect was not observed with decaf, researchers wrote in the study published in the International Journal of Cancer.