Japanese researchers pooled data from two cohort studies that showed self-reported frequency of coffee consumption among more than 60,000 people.
After adjustment for potential confounders, they found that those who drink coffee occasionally reduced their risk by almost 30 per cent, while those drinking one or more cups a day had a risk of just 0.58 compared with the non-drinkers.
Although case-control studies suggest that coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of liver cancer, no prospective cohort study has been carried out, they noted in the 10 August issue of the International Journal of Cancer (vol 116, issue 1 , pp 150 - 154).
However researchers at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo reported earlier this year that people who drank coffee on a daily or almost daily basis had about half the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer, compared with those who never drank coffee.
In the new study, the researchers also looked at subjects with a history of liver disease. They found a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of liver cancer.
"Further studies to investigate the role of coffee in prevention of liver cancer among the high-risk population are needed," write the researchers.