Background: Coffee consumption has been associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk among women with a BRCA1 mutation. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether major contributors of caffeine intake are associated with a reduction in DNA damage and/or oxidative stress in women with and without a BRCA1 mutation. Methods: Coffee, tea, soda and total caffeine consumption was collected by a dietary history questionnaire, and DNA repair capacity in lymphocytes was assessed by the comet assay (tail moments), micronucleus test (per 1,000 binucleated cells) and analysis of γ-H2AX staining (nuclear foci). The thiobarbituric acid-malondialdehyde and DTNB assays were used to estimate serum lipid peroxidation (µmol/l) and protein oxidation (µmol/l), respectively. Results: Among all women, high levels of caffeine and caffeinated coffee intake were associated with significantly lower levels of micronuclei (138.50 vs. 97.67, p = 0.04, and 138.12 vs. 97.70, p = 0.04). There was no significant relationship between caffeine, coffee, tea and soda intake and the other markers of DNA repair capacity and oxidative stress among all women and in analyses stratified by BRCA1 mutation status. Conclusion: The chemopreventive effects of coffee and/or caffeine may be associated with improved capacity to efficiently repair DNA damage.

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