Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 1949–1959 | Cite as

Coffee consumption and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of case–control studies

  • Carlotta GaleoneEmail author
  • Federica Turati
  • Carlo La Vecchia
  • Alessandra Tavani
Original paper


A meta-analysis of case–control studies on coffee consumption and colorectal cancer risk was conducted. Twenty-four eligible studies published before May 2010 were identified, including a total of 14,846 cases of colorectal, colon or rectal cancer. Compared to non/occasional drinkers, the odds ratios (OR) for drinkers were 0.83 (95% CI 0.73–0.95) for colorectal, 0.93 (95% CI 0.81–1.07) for colon and 0.98 (95% CI 0.85–1.13) for rectal cancer, with significant heterogeneity among studies; the corresponding ORs for the increment of 1 cup/day were 0.94 (95% CI 0.91–0.98), 0.95 (95% CI 0.92–0.98), and 0.97 (95% CI 0.95–0.99). For the highest coffee drinkers, the ORs were 0.70 (95% CI 0.60–0.81) for colorectal cancer, 0.75 (95% CI 0.64–0.88) for colon cancer and 0.87 (95% CI 0.75–1.00) for rectal cancer, when compared to non/low drinkers. The results of this meta-analysis of case–control studies suggest a moderate favorable effect of coffee consumption on colorectal cancer risk. The reduced risk was consistent across study design (hospital vs. population based), geographic area, and various confounding factors considered. It may reflect a real protection but also partly or largely be due to reverse causation, i.e. decreased coffee consumption among cases following the onset of bowel symptoms.


Case–control studies Coffee Colorectal cancer Meta-analysis Systematic review 



We thank Dr Patrizia Lettieri for bibliographic research, Dr. Irene Tramacere for helpful assistance to plot the graphs, Mrs Judy Baggott for style editing and Ms Ivana Garimoldi for editorial assistance. This work was conducted with the contribution of the Italian Association for Cancer Research.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlotta Galeone
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Federica Turati
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carlo La Vecchia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alessandra Tavani
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di EpidemiologiaInstituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”MilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Medicina del Lavoro “Clinica del Lavoro Luigi Devoto”, Sezione di Statistica Medica e Biometria “Giulio A. Maccacaro”Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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