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Post-diagnostic coffee and tea consumption and breast cancer survival



We examined the role of post-diagnostic coffee and tea consumption in relation to breast cancer-specific and all-cause mortality among women with breast cancer in prospective cohort studies.


We identified 8900 women with stage I–III breast cancer from 1980 through 2010 in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and from 1991 through 2011 in the NHSII. Post-diagnostic coffee and tea consumption was assessed by a validated food frequency questionnaire every 4 years after diagnosis.


During up to 30 years of follow-up, we documented 1054 breast cancer-specific deaths and 2501 total deaths. Higher post-diagnostic coffee consumption was associated with a lower breast cancer-specific mortality: compared with non-drinkers, >3 cups/day of coffee was associated with a 25% lower risk (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.75, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.59–0.96; Ptrend = 0.002). We also observed a lower all-cause mortality with coffee consumption: compared with non-drinkers, >2 to 3 cups/day was associated with a 24% lower risk (HR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.66–0.87) and >3 cups/day was associated with a 26% lower risk (HR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.63–0.87, Ptrend < 0.0001). Post-diagnostic tea consumption was associated with a lower all-cause mortality: compared with non-drinkers, >3 cups/day was associated with a 26% lower risk (HR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.58–0.95; Ptrend = 0.04).


Among breast cancer survivors, higher post-diagnostic coffee consumption was associated with better breast cancer and overall survival. Higher post-diagnostic tea consumption may be related to better overall survival.

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We would like to thank the participants and staff of the NHS and NHSII for their valuable contributions as well as the following state cancer registries for their help: AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA and WY.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.S.F.: study concept and design, statistical analysis, funding acquisition, interpretation of data, drafting of the paper, critical revision of the paper for important intellectual content, and approval of final paper for submission. N.D.S.: interpretation of the data, critical revision of the paper for important intellectual content and approval of final paper for submission. B.A.R.: statistical analysis, interpretation of the data, critical revision of the paper for important intellectual content and approval of final paper for submission. W.C.W.: interpretation of the data, critical revision of the paper for important intellectual content and approval of final paper for submission. A.H.E.: interpretation of the data, critical revision of the paper for important intellectual content and approval of the final manuscript for submission. M.D.H.: interpretation of the data, critical revision of the paper for important intellectual content and approval of final paper for submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Maryam S. Farvid.

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate

The study protocol was approved by the institutional review boards of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston, MA, USA).

Consent to publish

Completion of the questionnaire was considered to imply informed consent when the study protocol was approved in 1976 (NHS) and 1989 (NHSII) by the institutional review boards of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA, USA) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston, MA, USA), and those of participating registries as required. The studies were conducted in accordance with recognised ethical guidelines (Declaration of Helsinki).

Data availability

The datasets used and analysed during this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Competing interests

M.D.H. reported grants from FHI Solutions, nonfinancial support from Bayer AG (Bayer supplies aspirin and placebo for the Aspirin after Breast Cancer trial) and personal fees from Arla Foods (participated in a systematic review of dietary intake in Nigerian children for this company) outside the submitted work. The remaining authors declare no competing interests.

Funding information

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health Grants (U01 CA176726, UM1 CA186107), American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) to M.S.F., and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) to W.C.W. The study sponsors were not involved in the study design and collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, or the writing of the article or the decision to submit it for publication. The authors were independent of study sponsors.

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Farvid, M.S., Spence, N.D., Rosner, B.A. et al. Post-diagnostic coffee and tea consumption and breast cancer survival. Br J Cancer 124, 1873–1881 (2021).

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