Harvard researchers have determined that long-term coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer in women.
According to Dr. Edward Giovannucci, coffee is emerging as a protective agent in cancers that are linked to obesity, estrogen and insulin.
"Coffee has already been shown to be protective against diabetes due to its effect on insulin," explained Giovannucci.
"So we hypothesized that we'd see a reduction in some cancers as well."
Indeed, Giovannucci and his team observed cumulative coffee intake in relation to endometrial cancer in 67,470 women who enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study.
During the course of 26 years of follow-up, researchers documented 672 cases of endometrial cancer.
Drinking more than four cups of coffee per day was linked with a 25% reduced risk for endometrial cancer, while consuming between two and three cups per day was linked with a 7% reduced risk.
A similar link was observed in decaffeinated coffee, where drinking more than two cups per day was linked with a 22 percent reduced risk for endometrial cancer.
Giovannucci said he hopes the endometrial study will lead to further inquiries about the effect of coffee on cancer.
"Coffee has long been linked with smoking, and if you drink coffee and smoke, the positive effects of coffee are going to be more than outweighed by the negative effects of smoking.
"However, laboratory testing has found that coffee has much more antioxidants than most vegetables and fruits."