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N Engl J Med. 1981 Mar 12;304(11):630-3.

Coffee and cancer of the pancreas.


We questioned 369 patients with histologically proved cancer of the pancreas and 644 control patients about their use of tobacco, alcohol, tea, and coffee. There was a weak positive association between pancreatic cancer and cigarette smoking, but we found no association with use of cigars, pipe tobacco, alcoholic beverages, or tea. A strong association between coffee consumption and pancreatic cancer was evident in both sexes. The association was not affected by controlling for cigarette use. For the sexes combined, there was a significant dose-response relation (P approximately 0.001); after adjustment for cigarette smoking, the relative risk associated with drinking up to two cups of coffee per day was 1.8 (95% confidence limits, 1.0 to 3.0), and that with three or more cups per day was 2.7 (1.6 to 4.7). This association should be evaluated with other data; if it reflects a causal relation between coffee drinking and pancreatic cancer, coffee use might account for a substantial proportion of the cases of this disease in the United States.

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