Caffeine Appears to Cut Brain Cancer Risk

September 29/Edinburgh, Scotland/The Express -- A daily  cup of tea or coffee can protect against deadly brain cancer, a major study found.

People who drink one cup of either hot drink can slash the risk of the disease, called glioma, by a third.

Scientists believe caffeine may restrict blood flow to the brain and stop tumors growing, or it is thought antioxidants in tea and coffee may protect the brain against cancer cells. Antioxidants are chemicals that fight disease.

Around 4,200 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year in the United Kingdom, and about half are gliomas that can be very difficult to treat.

Symptoms range from headaches and seizures to blurred vision, drowsiness and even changes in personality, memory or mental ability.

Benefits Researchers studied 500,000 men and women over eight years.

As part of the massive European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, known as the EPIC study, volunteers were asked questions about what food and drink they had and also their lifestyle.

The team compared cancer rates among frequent coffee and tea drinkers to volunteers who consumed little or no caffeinated hot drinks.

A daily cup of either drink reduced the risk by an average of 34%, but there were greater benefits for men than women -- of 41% compared to 26%.

Benefits could be seen after drinking just 100mL -- equivalent to two-thirds of a cup. The team said, "We found an inverse association between total tea and coffee consumption and the risk of glioma.

"These findings, if further replicated in other studies, may provide new avenues of research on gliomas." The report is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Euan Paul, executive director of the British Coffee Association, said, "These findings are of interest as glioma is the most common type of primary brain tumor, and the results from this study were obtained from a very large study population.

"Other studies recently published have also demonstrated that moderate coffee consumption does not increase the risk of cancer in the breast, kidney, bladder, skin or colon. Several suggested coffee may even be associated with a protective effect when factors such as smoking are taken into consideration."

Earlier this year, Australian experts found one cup of tea a day could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 10%. In 2007, a U.S. study revealed six cups of coffee a day cut the risk of a type of skin cancer, called basal cell carcinoma, by 30%. 

From the October 18, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition