New Study Finds Coffee May Inhibit Drug-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Coffee compounds kahweol acetate and cafestol were shown to thwart the growth of prostate cancer in mice.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Ah, Coffee! It's delicious, helps wake you up, and studies have even found that in moderation it has many health benefits. Adding to that list now is new research that indicates it may inhibit the growth of drug-resistant prostate cancer.


Kahweol acetate and cafestol

Japanese scientists have discovered that two compounds found in coffee, kahweol acetate, and cafestol, thwarted the growth of prostate cancer cells in mice. Both these compounds are hydrocarbons, naturally occurring in Arabica coffee. 

"We found that kahweol acetate and cafestol inhibited the growth of the cancer cells in mice, but the combination seemed to work synergistically, leading to a significantly slower tumor growth than in untreated mice. After 11 days, the untreated tumors had grown by around 3 and a half times the original volume (342%), whereas the tumors in the mice treated with both compounds had grown by around just over one and a half (167%) times the original size," said study leader, Dr Hiroaki Iwamoto, Department of Integrative Cancer Therapy and Urology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Japan.


However, Iwamoto also noted that the research was merely a pilot study that required further investigation. As such, it can not necessarily be applied to humans. Still, the findings are promising.

"What it does show is that these compounds appear to have an effect on drug-resistant cells prostate cancer cells in the right circumstances, and that they too need further investigation. We are currently considering how we might test these findings in a larger sample, and then in humans" added Iwamoto.

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A coffee warning

The researchers also further warned against increasing coffee consumption by too much. 

"These are promising findings, but they should not make people change their coffee consumption. Coffee can have both positive and negative effects (for example it can increase hypertension), so we need to find out more about the mechanisms behind these findings before we can think about clinical applications. However, if we can confirm these results, we may have candidates to treat drug-resistant prostate cancer," said Professor Atsushi Mizokami, Department of Integrative Cancer Therapy and Urology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Japan. 

Still, if you love your morning brew the news is a good one. It should be noted that both kahweol acetate and cafestol can be stripped out when coffee is filtered so if you want the benefits best to have an espresso. 

The study is published in the peer-reviewed journal The Prostate.