Article open access publication

Coffee and tea consumption and risk of pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study

Breast Cancer Research, Springer Nature, ISSN 1465-5411

Volume 17, 1, 2015

DOI:10.1186/s13058-015-0521-3, Dimensions: pub.1038682868, PMC: PMC4349221, PMID: 25637171,



  1. (1) Hospital Kuala Lumpur, grid.412516.5
  2. (2) University Medical Center Utrecht, grid.7692.a
  3. (3) University of Malaya, grid.10347.31
  4. (4) Imperial College London, grid.7445.2
  5. (5) National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, grid.31147.30
  6. (6) Aarhus University, grid.7048.b, AU
  7. (7) Danish Cancer Society, grid.417390.8
  8. (8) Institut Gustave Roussy, grid.14925.3b
  9. (9) University of Paris-Sud, grid.5842.b
  10. (10) German Cancer Research Center, grid.7497.d
  11. (11) German Institute of Human Nutrition, grid.418213.d
  12. (12) National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, grid.5216.0
  13. (13) Hellenic Health Foundation, grid.424637.0
  14. (14) Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, grid.417893.0
  15. (15) University of Naples Federico II, grid.4691.a
  16. (16) Istituto per lo Studio e la Prevenzione Oncologica, grid.417623.5
  17. (17) Cancer Registry and Histopathology Unit, “Civile - M.P.Arezzo” Hospital, ASP 7, Ragusa, Italy
  18. (18) Piedmont Reference Center for Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention, grid.420240.0
  19. (19) Wageningen University & Research, grid.4818.5
  20. (20) The Arctic University of Norway, grid.10919.30
  21. (21) Public Health and Participation Directorate, Health and Health Care Services Council, Asturias, Spain
  22. (22) Catalan Institute of Oncology, grid.418701.b
  23. (23) Andalusian School of Public Health, grid.413740.5
  24. (24) Institute of Health Carlos III, grid.413448.e
  25. (25) Department of Epidemiology, Murcia Health Council, Murcia, Spain
  26. (26) Instituto de Salud Pública de Navarra, grid.419126.9
  27. (27) Public Health Division of Gipuzkoa, Instituto Investigación Sanitaria, San Sebastian, Spain
  28. (28) Lund University, grid.4514.4
  29. (29) Umeå University, grid.12650.30
  30. (30) University of Cambridge, grid.5335.0
  31. (31) MRC Epidemiology Unit, grid.415056.3
  32. (32) University of Oxford, grid.4991.5
  33. (33) International Agency For Research On Cancer, grid.17703.32
  34. (34) Queen Mary University of London, grid.4868.2


INTRODUCTION: Specific coffee subtypes and tea may impact risk of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer differently. We investigated the association between coffee (total, caffeinated, decaffeinated) and tea intake and risk of breast cancer. METHODS: A total of 335,060 women participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer (EPIC) Study, completed a dietary questionnaire from 1992 to 2000, and were followed-up until 2010 for incidence of breast cancer. Hazard ratios (HR) of breast cancer by country-specific, as well as cohort-wide categories of beverage intake were estimated. RESULTS: During an average follow-up of 11 years, 1064 premenopausal, and 9134 postmenopausal breast cancers were diagnosed. Caffeinated coffee intake was associated with lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer: adjusted HR=0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.82 to 0.98, for high versus low consumption; Ptrend=0.029. While there was no significant effect modification by hormone receptor status (P=0.711), linear trend for lower risk of breast cancer with increasing caffeinated coffee intake was clearest for estrogen and progesterone receptor negative (ER-PR-), postmenopausal breast cancer (P=0.008). For every 100 ml increase in caffeinated coffee intake, the risk of ER-PR- breast cancer was lower by 4% (adjusted HR: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.93 to 1.00). Non-consumers of decaffeinated coffee had lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer (adjusted HR=0.89; 95% CI: 0.80 to 0.99) compared to low consumers, without evidence of dose-response relationship (Ptrend=0.128). Exclusive decaffeinated coffee consumption was not related to postmenopausal breast cancer risk, compared to any decaffeinated-low caffeinated intake (adjusted HR=0.97; 95% CI: 0.82 to 1.14), or to no intake of any coffee (HR: 0.96; 95%: 0.82 to 1.14). Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee were not associated with premenopausal breast cancer. Tea intake was neither associated with pre- nor post-menopausal breast cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Higher caffeinated coffee intake may be associated with lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Decaffeinated coffee intake does not seem to be associated with breast cancer.


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