London: A large study has shown that downing six or more cups of coffee everyday can significantly reduce risk of developing lethal prostate cancer in men.

The study of nearly 50,000 men in the US found that those who drank six or more cups daily were found to be 20 percent less likely to develop any form of the disease which is the most common cancer in males.
   
They were also 60 percent less likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer which can spread to other parts of the body, the findings revealed.
   
Even drinking relatively small amounts of coffee, one to three cups a day, lowered the risk of lethal prostate cancer by 30 percent, according to the study carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
   
The study, published in the 'Journal of the National Cancer Institute', in fact, involved 48,000 US men working in health sector who reported their coffee consumption every four years from 1986 to 2008.
   
During this period, 5,035 of the men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 642 fatal or "metastatic" cases where tumors spread to different parts of the body.
   
No difference was seen between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, suggesting caffeine itself was not the cause. The researchers think there may be unknown compounds in coffee that protect against the disease.

Lead researcher Dr Kathryn Wilson was quoted by the British media as saying, "At present, we lack an understanding of risk factors that can be changed or controlled to lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer.

"If our findings are validated, coffee could represent one modifiable factor that may lower the risk of developing the most harmful form of prostate cancer."

However, experts are not fully convinced.

Dr Helen Rippon of The Prostate Cancer Charity in the UK told the news channel that other studies had not shown the link and the research evidence was still unclear.
   
"Although this study is a welcome addition to our knowledge, it is far from definitive and we would not recommend men who are not already habitual coffee drinkers to become so in the hope of preventing prostate cancer.”
   
"Heavy caffeine intake is associated with other health problems and men with benign prostate problems might well make urinary symptoms worse,” she added.
   
Added Yinka Ebo, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK "There's no need for men to start drinking gallons of coffee in an attempt to lower their prostate cancer risk. We would need to see these results repeated in other large studies before we can be sure."

(Agencies)