Smoking, alcohol, coffee, tea, caffeine, and theobromine: risk of prostate cancer in Utah (United States)

Data from a population-based study of newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer (n=362) and age-matched controls (n=685) conducted in Utah (United States) between 1983 and 1986 were used to determine if cigarette smoking, alcohol, coffee, tea, caffeine, and theobromine were associated with prostate cancer risk. These factors were examined since their use differs in the Utah population, which is comprised predominantly of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon), from most other populations. Pack-years of cigarettes smoked, alcohol intake, and consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, and caffeine were not associated with prostate cancer risk. Compared with men with very low levels of theobromine intake, older men consuming 11 to 20 and over 20 mg of theobromine per day were at increased risk of prostate cancer (odds ratio [OR] for all tumors = 2.06, 95 percent confidence interval [CI]=1.33–3.20, and OR=1.47, CI=0.99–2.19, respectively; OR for aggressive tumors = 1.90, CI=0.90–3.97, and OR=1.74, CI=0.91–3.32, respectively). We present biological mechanisms for a possible association between prostate cancer and theobromine. This finding needs further exploration in studies with a wider range of theobromine exposures and more men with aggressive tumors.

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Additional information

Dr Slattery is with the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA. Dr West is with the Northerm California Cacer Center, Alameda, CA, USA. Address correspondence to Dr Slattery, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, 50 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA. This study was supported in part by grant number CA 34804 from the US National Cancer Institute.

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Slattery, M.L., West, D.W. Smoking, alcohol, coffee, tea, caffeine, and theobromine: risk of prostate cancer in Utah (United States). Cancer Causes Control 4, 559–563 (1993).

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Key words

  • Alcohol
  • caffeine
  • coffee
  • males
  • prostate cancer
  • smoking
  • theobromine
  • tea
  • United States