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Here's what science says about coffee and prostate cancer

Study targets coffee's link to slowing growth of prostate cancer cells

Almost exactly one year ago, a Los Angeles judge ruled that a cancer warning must be visible on all coffee products in California because of its possible links to cancer. This stemmed from a 30-year-old law known as Proposition 65, which requires companies selling products that expose people to cancer risks to post warnings of said exposure. 

This was eventually shut down by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which declared their support of taking coffee off that list.  A statement released by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb fell in line with organizations such as the National Coffee Association and stated that the required cancer warning on coffee is more likely to mislead consumers rather than inform them.

The rise of coffee-related studies has seemed to skyrocket the past few years — and the vast majority of them find that coffee is packed with a lot of health benefits. This could be because of things like Prop 65, or because of coffee's widespread consumption. Because coffee has literally thousands of chemical compounds, it's definitely worth studying on a microscopic level.

[Related: Scientists study link between dark roast coffee and preventing Alzheimer's]

One of the latest studies talks about how coffee can possibly curb the growth of prostate cancer cells. The study from Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science in Japan tested a range of coffee compounds against prostate cancer in mice. Specifically, they used cells that were resistant to standard cancer drugs. 

They started the study looking at six chemical compounds in coffee, and eventually narrowed down to two — kahweol acetate and cafestol. Both chemicals are hydrocarbons found in Arabica coffee.

In preliminary experiments, scientists showed that when kahweol acetate and cafestol were added to prostate cancer cells in a petri dish, the cells grew less rapidly.

"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," Dr. Hiroaki Iwamoto, the study leader, said.

The scientists presented their results at the European Association of Urology congress in Barcelona. They'll continue testing the links between coffee and cancer, and the researchers remain confident and excited about the findings. 

Related: How does coffee affect your kidneys?