There may be no association between coffee intake and pancreatic cancer, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer.1

In examining the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, Kristin Guertin, PhD, and fellow researchers at the National Cancer Institute looked at 457,366 US adults—“the largest number of pancreatic cancer cases to date”—in order to determine the association between risk and coffee intake, whether caffeinated or decaffeinated. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios.

The researchers found that upon 4,155,256 person-years of follow-up, 1,541 incident first primary pancreatic cancers had occurred. Upon adjusting for smoking history, risk estimates for coffee drinking were not found to be statistically significant.

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Compared to patients who never drank coffee, hazard ratios for 1.05 for less than one cup of coffee per day, 1.06 for one cup of coffee per day, 1.03 for two to three cups of coffee per day, 1.00 for four to five cups of coffee per day, and 1.24 for at least six cups of coffee per day.

This observation was found to be consistent upon adjusting for other patient characteristics such as sex, smoking status, coffee caffeination and diabetes.


  1. Guertin KA, Freedman ND, Loftfield E, et al. A prospective study of coffee intake and pancreatic cancer: results from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. [published online ahead of print September 24, 2015]. Br J Cancer. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2015.235.