Study explains coffee’s anti-cancer effect

Coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer by helping kill off damaged cells that could otherwise turn into tumors, according to a US study published on Monday.

The findings indicate that moderate caffeine drinking, or perhaps even applying coffee to the skin, could be useful in warding off non-melanoma cancer, the most commonly diagnosed of all skin cancers.

Using mice that had been genetically altered to suppress a protein called ATR, researchers showed that the mice were able to fend off cancer even when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Previous studies have suggested that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee per day has the effect of suppressing ATR and triggering the die-off of cells harmed by UV rays.

The altered mice eventually did develop cancer, but three weeks later than normal mice.

After 19 weeks of ultraviolet light exposure, the engineered mice showed 69 percent fewer tumors and four times fewer invasive tumors than the control group.

However, the protective effects only went so far. After 34 weeks of UV exposure, all the mice developed tumors.

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