Coffee May Inhibit Prostate Cancer Growth, Scientists Find

Kahweol acetate and cafestol found in coffee may slow down the progression of prostate cancer, say researchers in Japan.

AsianScientist (Mar. 29, 2019) – A research group in Japan has identified compounds found in coffee which may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. They reported their results in the journal The Prostate.

Coffee is a complex mixture of compounds which has been shown to influence human health in both positive and negative ways. There is increasing evidence that drinking certain types of coffee is associated with a reduction in incidence of some cancers, including prostate cancers.

In the present study, Japanese scientists led by Dr. Hiroaki Iwamoto at the Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Japan, have identified two compounds found in coffee—kahweol acetate and cafestol—that could inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.

The researchers initially tested six compounds, naturally found in coffee, on the proliferation of human prostate cancers cells in a petri-dish. They found that cancer cells treated with kahweol acetate and cafestol grew more slowly than controls. They then tested these compounds on prostate cancer cells which had been transplanted to mice.

“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 342 percent the original volume, whereas tumors in the mice treated with both compounds had grown by around 167 percent the original size,” said Iwamoto.

However, the authors urged caution in interpreting the results of the study, highlighting that further investigation is needed to demonstrate the efficacy of the coffee compounds in humans.

“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 of Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, a co-author on the study.

The article can be found at: Iwamoto et al. (2018) Coffee Diterpenes Kahweol Acetate and Cafestol Synergistically Inhibit the Proliferation and Migration of Prostate Cancer Cells.


Source: European Association of Urology; Photo: Shutterstock.
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