Caffeine and its main targets of colorectal cancer.World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2020 Feb 15; 12(2):149-172.WJ
Caffeine is a purine alkaloid and is widely consumed in coffee, soda, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. To date, a growing number of studies have indicated that caffeine is associated with many diseases including colorectal cancer. Caffeine exerts its biological activity through binding to adenosine receptors, inhibiting phosphodiesterases, sensitizing calcium channels, antagonizing gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors and stimulating adrenal hormones. Some studies have indicated that caffeine can interact with signaling pathways such as transforming growth factor β, phosphoinositide-3-kinase/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways through which caffeine can play an important role in colorectal cancer pathogenesis, metastasis and prognosis. Moreover, caffeine can act as a general antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress and also as a regulatory factor of the cell cycle that modulates the DNA repair system. Additionally, as for intestinal homeostasis, through the interaction with receptors and cytokines, caffeine can modulate the immune system mediating its effects on T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, natural killer cells and macrophages. Furthermore, caffeine can not only directly inhibit species in the gut microbiome, such as Escherichia coli and Candida albicans but also can indirectly exert inhibition by increasing the effects of other antimicrobial drugs. This review summarizes the association between colorectal cancer and caffeine that is being currently studied.