Washington, Oct 21 (ANI): A new study has shown that patients with chronic hepatitis C who drink three or more cups of coffee per day have a 53 percent lower risk of liver disease progression than non-coffee drinkers.
The study, led by Neal Freedman, Ph.D., MPH, from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), included 766 participants who had hepatitis C-related bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis and failed to respond to standard treatment of the anti-viral drugs peginterferon and ribavirin.
At the beginning of the study, HALT-C patients were asked to report their typical frequency of coffee intake and portion size over the past year, using 9 frequency categories ranging from 'never' to 'every day' and 4 categories of portion size (1 cup, 2 cups, 3-4 cups, and 5+ cups). A similar question was asked for black and green tea intake.
"This study is the first to address the association between liver disease progression related to hepatitis C and coffee intake," said Dr. Freedman.
Participants were seen every 3 months during the 3.8-year study period to assess clinical outcomes which included: ascites (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen), prognosis of chronic liver disease, death related to liver disease, hepatic encephalopathy (brain and nervous system damage), hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, variceal hemorrhage, or increase in fibrosis.
Liver biopsies were also taken at 1.5 and 3.5 five years to determine the progression of liver disease.
Results showed that participants who drank 3 or more cups of coffee per day had a relative risk of .47 for reaching one of the clinical outcomes.
Researchers did not observe any association between tea intake and liver disease progression, though tea consumption was low in the study.
"Given the large number of people affected by HCV it is important to identify modifiable risk factors associated with the progression of liver disease," said Dr. Freedman.
"Although we cannot rule out a possible role for other factors that go along with drinking coffee, results from our study suggest that patients with high coffee intake had a lower risk of disease progression," Dr. Freedman added.
The study appears in the November issue of the Journal Hepatology. (ANI)