June 10, 2019

Prospective investigation of serum metabolites, coffee drinking, liver cancer incidence, and liver disease mortality

E Loftfield et al, 2019. Prospective investigation of serum metabolites, coffee drinking, liver cancer incidence, and liver disease mortality,Journal of the National Cancer Institute, published online.


Background: Coffee has been consistently associated with lower risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease, suggesting that coffee affects mechanisms underlying disease development. Methods: We measured serum metabolites using untargeted metabolomics in 1:1 matched nested case control studies of liver cancer (n=221 cases) and fatal liver disease (n=242 cases) in the ATBC cohort (N=29,133). Associations between baseline coffee drinking and metabolites were identified using linear regression; conditional logistic regression models were used to identify associations with subsequent outcomes. Results: Overall, 21 metabolites were associated with coffee drinking and also each subsequent endpoint; nine metabolites and trigonelline, a known coffee biomarker, were identified. Tyrosine and two bile acids, glycochenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA) and glycocholic acid (GCA), were inversely associated with coffee but positively associated with both outcomes; odds ratios (ORs) comparing the 90th to 10th percentile (modeled on a continuous basis) ranged from 3.93 (95% CI=2.00-7.74) for tyrosine to 4.95 (95% CI=2.64-9.29) for GCA and from 4.00 (95% CI=2.42-6.62) for GCA to 6.77 (95% CI=3.62-12.65) for GCDCA for liver cancer and fatal liver disease, respectively. The remaining six metabolites and trigonelline were positively associated with coffee drinking but inversely associated with both outcomes; ORs ranged from 0.16 to 0.37. Associations persisted following diet-adjustment and for outcomes occurring >10 years after blood collection. Conclusions: A broad range of compounds were associated with coffee drinking, incident liver cancer and liver disease death over 27 years of follow-up. These associations provide novel insight into chronic liver disease and liver cancer etiology and support a possible hepatoprotective effect of coffee.

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