Well, it does, but only a little bit. It’s really the chemical xanthohumol, found in trace amounts in hops, that appears to fight cancer. Here’s the full story from KATU News.
"Xanthohumol is one of the more significant compounds for cancer chemoprevention that we have studied," said Fred Stevens, a researcher with OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute and an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy. "The published literature and research on its properties are just exploding at this point, and there’s a great deal of interest."
Quite a bit is now known about the biological mechanism of action of this compound and the ways it may help prevent cancer or have other metabolic value. But even before most of those studies have been completed, efforts are under way to isolate and market it as a food supplement. A "health beer" with enhanced levels of the compound is already being developed….
It’s possible, scientists say, that hops might be produced or genetically engineered to have higher levels of xanthohumol, specifically to take advantage of its anti-cancer properties. Some beers already have higher levels of these compounds than others. The lager and pilsner beers commonly sold in domestic U.S. brews have fairly low levels of these compounds, but some porter, stout and ale brews have much higher levels.
However, don’t expect to start drinking a lot of beer to prevent cancer: according to this, you’d have to drink 120 gallons of beer a day to get any benefit.
But I’m sure a beer a day wouldn’t hurt…