(HealthDay News) – In both men and women, caffeine intake, from coffee and other sources, is inversely associated with the risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), according to research published in the July 1 issue of Cancer Research.

Fengju Song, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues utilized data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study to prospectively evaluate the association between caffeine consumption and the risk of skin cancer. The authors examined 22,786 cases of BCC; 1,953 cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC); and 741 melanoma cases.

The researchers found that caffeine consumption from coffee and from all dietary sources, such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate, was inversely associated with the risk of BCC. Men and women in the highest vs the lowest quintile of caffeine intake had the lowest risk (relative risk [RR], 0.82 for women and 0.87 for men). Caffeinated coffee consumption also correlated with BCC risk, with a lower risk for women and men who consumed more than 3 cups of coffee per day vs less than 1 cup per month (RR, 0.79 for women [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.74 to 0.85] and 0.90 for men [95% CI, 0.80 to 1.01]). This association was seen for caffeine from other dietary sources, but was not found with decaffeinated coffee consumption. No association was found between caffeine intake and the risk of SCC or melanoma.

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“Our study has extended previous findings by adding a clearer attribution of the risk reduction for BCC to caffeine intake as distinct from coffee consumption and highlighting differences between BCC and SCC,” the authors write.

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