Coffee May Lower Melanoma Risk Interview with:
Erikka Loftfield
Doctoral student at the Yale School of Public Health
Fellow at the National Cancer Institute

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous studies have reported conflicting results on the association between coffee drinking and melanoma. We sought to clarify this relationship using data from the large NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. We followed over 400,000 retirees aged 50 to 71 years at study entry for an average of 10 years. Participants were asked to report typical coffee intake. During the course of follow-up nearly 3,000 cases of malignant melanoma occurred. In our study, we observed that individuals who reported the highest total coffee intake (4 cups/day) had about 20% lower risk of malignant melanoma compared with those who did not consume coffee.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The most important thing that individuals can do to reduce their risk of melanoma is to reduce sun and UV radiation exposure. Our results, and some from other recent studies, should provide reassurance to coffee consumers that drinking coffee is not a risky thing to do. However, our results do not indicate that individuals should alter their coffee intake.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our results need to be replicated in other large cohorts.


Erikka Loftfield, Neal D. Freedman, Barry I. Graubard, Albert R. Hollenbeck, Fatma M. Shebl, Susan T. Mayne, and Rashmi Sinha

Coffee Drinking and Cutaneous Melanoma Risk in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2015) 107 (2): dju421 doi:10.1093/jnci/dju421

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Last Updated on January 21, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD