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People who drink more than a cup of coffee a day are less likely to develop liver cancer than those who do not, according to a team of researchers at Tohoku University.

The team, led by Ichiro Tsuji, professor of public health at the state-run university in Sendai, compiled the data based on a study of about 61,000 adults.

Tsuji has yet to pinpoint the substance in coffee that appears to curb development of cancer. But he says coffee helps lower the risk of cirrhosis. Chlorogenic acid, present in coffee beans, has proven in an animal study to reduce the risks of liver cancer.

In the study, the team looked at people aged 40 or over for seven to nine years between 1984 and 1997 and found that 117 of them developed liver cancer during the period.

The team analyzed data based on the subjects’ age, sex and other factors, and concluded that the chances of developing liver cancer were 0.58 for those who drink more than a cup of coffee per day and 0.71 for those who drink less than a cup of coffee a day, compared with the base figure of 1 for noncoffee drinkers.

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