Who reaps the most cancer-protective benefits from caffeine?
"Not everyone equally benefits from caffeine consumption," Han said. The researchers would like to investigate which genes may explain why some people gain cancer protection from drinking caffeine, he said.
Coffee has recently been found to lower people's risk of dying over a given period, and to decrease the risk of prostate, breast and endometrial cancer, said Mucci.
But the mechanisms at play in these conditions may be different, Mucci said. "For prostate cancer and endometrial cancers, the data show the same benefit of lower risk from caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee," she said.
Coffee influences several body processes — it has antioxidant effects, helps insulin regulation and may lower inflammation, Mucci said. "It may be that different components of coffee are important for different cancers."
The study is published today (July 2) in Cancer Research; some of the results were presented at a 2011 cancer research meeting.
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