Associations of coffee/caffeine consumption with postmenopausal breast cancer risk and their interactions with postmenopausal hormone use

Lusine Yaghjyan, Eric McLaughlin, Amy Lehman, Marian L. Neuhouser, Thomas Rohan, Dorothy S. Lane, Linda Snetselaar, Electra Paskett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: We investigated the association of coffee and caffeine with breast cancer (BCa) risk, overall and by ER/PR status. We also examined potential interactions of coffee and caffeine with postmenopausal hormone use. Methods: Our study included 77,688 postmenopausal participants from the Women’s Health Initiative observational study cohort without a history of any cancer at baseline (except non-melanoma skin) and with valid Food Frequency Questionnaire data and complete data on dietary caffeine. Regular coffee (none, 1, 2–3, 4–5, and ≥ 6 cups/day) and caffeine (tertiles) were assessed at baseline. Information on BCa risk factors was collected at baseline. The associations were examined using survival analysis, accounting for death as a competing risk. Results: The median follow-up time for our cohort was 18.3 years. During the follow-up, 5005 women developed invasive breast cancer. In multivariable analysis, coffee was not associated with the overall invasive BCa risk. Higher caffeine intake was mildly associated with increased BCa risk (2nd vs. 1st tertile SHR = 1.10, 95% CI 1.03–1.18, 3rd vs. 1st tertile SHR–1.05, 95% CI 0.98–1.13, overall p = 0.03). We found no interaction of coffee/caffeine with postmenopausal hormone use (p interaction = 0.44 and 0.42, respectively). In the exploratory analysis by ER/PR status, we found a positive association of caffeine with ER+ /PR+ BCa (2nd vs. 1st tertile SHR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.07–1.28, 3rd vs. 1st tertile SHR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.03–1.24, overall p = 0.002); no associations were observed for ER−/PR− tumors. Coffee was not associated with the risk of ER+ /PR+ or ER−/PR− tumors. Conclusion: We found no associations of coffee with BCa risk, overall and for ER/PR-defined tumor subtypes. The higher caffeine consumption was mildly and positively associated with the overall BCa risk and with ER+ /PR+ tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3449-3459
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Breast cancer
  • Caffeine intake
  • Coffee
  • Women’s Health Initiative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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