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Coffee consumption by type and risk of digestive cancer: a large prospective cohort study



Inverse associations have been observed between coffee consumption and liver cancer, but associations for other digestive cancers are unclear. Few previous studies have investigated coffee type (specifically instant or ground coffee) or a range of digestive cancer types within one cohort. We therefore investigated coffee consumption by type and digestive cancer risks in a population-based cohort.


The UK Biobank captured self-reported coffee consumption and cancer-registry recorded incident digestive cancers. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs were calculated using Cox regression. The risk of every type of digestive cancer was investigated in association with coffee consumption by dose–response and by coffee type (decaffeinated, instant and ground).


Over 7.5 years of follow-up, 3567 developed digestive cancer among 471,779 participants. There were 88 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma and a marked association was observed for hepatocellular carcinoma in coffee drinkers (HR 0.50, 95% CI 0.29, 0.87), which was similar for instant (HR 0.51, 95% CI 0.28, 0.93) and ground coffee (HR 0.47, 95% CI 0.20, 1.08). We did not observe significant consistently reduced risks of other individual digestive cancers amongst coffee drinkers.


We found some evidence that coffee consumption was inversely associated with hepatocellular carcinoma which was similar by coffee type.

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The analysis of the UK Biobank has been conducted using the UK Biobank Resource under Application Number 34374.

Author information

K.T.T.: data analysis, data interpretation, drafting the paper and revising the paper for important intellectual content. ÚCMcM: data acquisition, data interpretation, revising the paper and contributing to the final paper. H.G.C.: data interpretation, revising the paper and contributing to the final manuscript. C.R.C.: data acquisition, data analysis, data interpretation, revising the paper, contributing to the final manuscript and acting as a study supervisor.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.


K.T.T. is supported by the Vietnam International Education Cooperation Department. Access to the UK Biobank was funded by a Cancer Research UK Population Research Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded to ÚCMcM. H.G.C. is supported by a Cancer Research UK Career Establishment Award.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

The UK Biobank has ethical approval from the North West Multi-Centre Research Ethics Committee. All participants provided written informed consent.

Data availability

The UK Biobank resource is available to all bona fide researchers for all types of health-related research, which is in the public interest.


This work is published under the standard license to publish agreement. After 12 months the work will become freely available and the license terms will switch to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Correspondence to Chris R. Cardwell.

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