Print this page
Thursday, 31 October 2019 11:02

Combined cancer risk from alcoholic beverages and smoking – moderate wine drinkers with an advantage?

The researchers examined the individual and synergistic effects of the modifiable lifestyle factors of smoking and drinking on overall and site-specific cancer risk…..

Data from 26,607 adults, 35-69 years old participating in the Alberta’s Tomorrow Project were analysed. Associations between the consumption of alcoholic beverages, cigarette smoking, and cancer risk were examined. A total of 2,370 participants developed cancer during the study follow-up period.

The results showed that alcohol consumption was associated with colon cancer risk among men, showing evidence of a dose-response relationship. Wine was the only type of beverage with a significant impact on all cancer-risk: female wine drinkers had a 24% reduced risk for all cancers. As a possible mechanism, the authors suggest that the presence of flavonoids and resveratrol in red wine, which are believed to reduce cancer risk by inhibiting certain metabolic processes, may be involved.

Cigarette smoking appeared to have a greater impact on cancer risk compared to alcohol, affecting multiple cancer sites and overall cancer risk. The authors conclude that alcohol consumption was not statistically associated with cancer risk, however, cigarette smoking clearly increased all-cancer risk and females were more affected than men. Combined use of alcohol and smoking increased the risk of developing all, colon, and prostate cancers. A “U-shaped” interaction was observed for breast cancer when alcohol and tobacco were used in combination.


Viner B, Barberio AM, Haig TR, Friedenreich CM, Brenner DR, The individual and combined effects of alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking on site-specific cancer risk in a prospective cohort of 26,607 adults: results from Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, Cancer Causes Control. 2019 Sep 18. s10552-019-01226-7.