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Coffee Compounds May Stop Prostate Cancer Growth

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Drinking a cup of coffee regularly may help prevent the development of prostate cancer in men, according to a new study by Japanese researchers.

In an article featured in the journal The Prostate, scientists from Kanazawa University in Japan have discovered the potential of two compounds in coffee to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer.

Coffee is known to cause both positive and negative effects on human health. One such potential is its ability to reduce the occurrence of certain malignancies, particularly prostate cancer.

This is what Hiroaki Iwamoto, a researcher from KU's Graduate School of Medical Science, and his colleagues set out to explore in their pilot study.

Coffee's Anti-Prostate Cancer Benefits

Iwamoto and his team first identified six compounds found naturally in coffee to see how they can affect the growth of cancer cells in the prostate. As their research progressed, they narrowed it down to two specific compounds: kahweol acetate and cafestol.

The researchers tested the compounds on laboratory mice transplanted with prostate cancer cells. They then divided the animals into four groups, where one group would be treated with kahweol acetate, one group with cafestol, one group with both kahweol acetate and cafestol, and another group that would serve as controls.

The team saw that the mice treated with a combination of kahweol acetate and cafestol had their prostate cancer grow far slower than those that did not receive any treatment.

After 11 days of testing, the animals that received both compounds had their tumors grow by only one and a half times or 167 percent compared to their original size.

Meanwhile, those that did not receive any of the compounds had their tumors grow by about three and a half times or 342 percent than their original size.

Kahweol acetate and cafestol helped retard even the growth of malignant cells that are known to be highly resistant to cancer treatment drugs.

Testing The Coffee Compounds' Impact On Human Patients

While the findings are promising, it is important to note that the pilot study only serves to prove that both kahweol acetate and cafestol have the ability to prevent prostate cancer.

Iwamoto and his colleagues said more research is needed to further investigate the potential impact of the coffee compounds on cancer growth in humans. They are already looking into the possibility of conducting the study on larger sample size and then on human patients.

Kahweol acetate and cafestol are both hydrocarbons found naturally in Arabica coffee beans. However, the amount of compounds in a cup of coffee sometimes depends on how the beverage is prepared. Brewing allows for more kahweol acetate and cafestol to remain in the drink, while filtering tends to strip them away from the coffee.

Despite the potential benefits of coffee drinking on prostate cancer, study co-author Atsushi Mizokami clarified that their findings should not make people change how they consume the beverage.

"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," Mizokami said.

"However, if we can confirm these results, we may have candidates to treat drug-resistant prostate cancer."

Researchers all over the world are exploring the potential of existing food and beverages in preventing the development of certain diseases.

Earlier this month, scientists in the United States identified compounds in green tea and carrots that help combat the degenerative effects of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

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