Fight skin cancer with coffee?

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Caffeine lowers the risk of skin cancer

Coffee could be the key to reducing skin cancer. When applied to the skin, the caffeine it contains significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer, reports US scientists from Rudgers University in New Jersey in the current issue of the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS).

The caffeine contained in the coffee "has a suppressive effect on those skin cancers that are caused by UV radiation," suggest Allan Conney from Rudgers University and colleagues when their study results were published in the journal PNAS. In laboratory tests with mice, the caffeine apparently suppressed the "ATR" gene and in this way led to the death of the cells damaged by UV light. These DNA-damaged cells are usually the cause of skin cancer and so caffeine when applied to the skin significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer, the US researchers explain.

Reducing the risk of skin cancer by applying caffeine As part of their study, the US researchers used mice whose ATR genes were defective to investigate a possible link between skin cancer and the coffee ingredient caffeine. The genetically modified rodents were exposed to UV radiation for nineteen weeks, and in the end the mice with ATR gene defects developed 69 percent less skin cancer than the animals from the control group. However, the statement is limited to the so-called squamous cell carcinoma, from which most animals suffered, but which appear rather harmless in humans in relation to other skin cancers such as malignant melanoma. However, the researchers led by Allan Conney from Rudgers University were also able to decipher the molecular mechanism which, in their view, indicates at least the possibility that "caffeine has an oppressive effect on those skin cancers caused by UV radiation." The US scientists explain that caffeine on the skin could block the ART gene and prevent the growth of potential cancer cells. In addition, caffeine not only blocks the ATR signaling pathway, but also contributes directly to sun protection, so that it should be considered when used in sunscreens.

Caffeine as a component of sun creams? While the U.S. scientists point to the need for further research before using caffeine in sunscreens, in general, the coffee ingredient could have benefits when applied to the skin. However, since the study has so far been limited to squamous cell carcinomas and these are by no means one of the most deadly skin cancer diseases, possible side effects of caffeine and possible negative consequences in relation to the formation of other forms of skin cancer must be thoroughly examined in further studies. Because squamous cell carcinomas are relatively common, they are however significantly less aggressive than the so-called "black skin cancer" (malignant melanoma), from which around four times more people die, according to the US researchers. If the caffeine increases the risk of malignant melanoma at the same time, it should not be used despite the positive effects in squamous cell carcinomas, the scientists explained. (fp)

Also read:
New drugs for skin cancer presented
White skin cancer is increasing rapidly
Dangerous black skin cancer
Sunscreen does not protect against skin cancer
Coffee protects against prostate cancer
Coffee lowers the risk of stroke
Study: coffee and tea are good for the heart

Image: Simone Hainz /

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