06 May 2014 In Cancer




A new study in an American Association for Cancer Research medical journal challenges the notion that alcohol consumption alone is a major risk factor for breast cancer in post-menopausal women. The risk grows substantially when women undertake hormone replacement therapy: The study found a 60 percent greater risk for women who drink while undergoing the therapy compared with women who drink alcohol responsibly and aren't on hormone replacement.




06 May 2014 In Cancer




BACKGROUND: Both alcohol consumption and obesity have been linked with breast cancer morbidity and mortality. An inverse association between alcohol intake and obesity suggests possible confounding between these variables (and perhaps other factors) with breast cancer outcomes.

METHODS: Alcohol intake (beer, wine, spirits, and total) was examined in 3,088 women previously diagnosed and treated for breast cancer within an intervention trial that targeted vegetables, fiber, and fat but not alcohol or weight loss. Factors associated with baseline alcohol intake were included in Cox proportional hazards models for recurrence and mortality.

RESULTS: Alcohol intake was significantly associated with higher education and physical activity levels. Neither light alcohol intake nor obesity was significantly associated with breast cancer recurrence, but moderate alcohol intake >300 g/mo was protective against all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% confidence intervals, 0.49-0.97) in a proportional hazards model adjusted for obesity. Obese women were 61% more likely to be nondrinkers than drinkers, and 76% more likely to be light drinkers than moderate/heavy drinkers. In nonobese women, alcohol intake >10 g/mo was associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence intervals, 0.51-0.91).

CONCLUSION: Light alcohol intake, regardless of body weight, did not increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence or all-cause mortality in this cohort of middle-aged women previously diagnosed with breast cancer. Alcohol intake was associated with other favorable prognostic indicators, which may explain its apparent protective effect in nonobese women.




06 May 2014 In Cancer




BACKGROUND: Alcohol increases breast cancer risk. Epidemiological studies suggest folate may modify this relationship.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship among breast cancer, alcohol and folate in the Women's Health Initiative-Observational Study (WHI-OS).

METHODS: 88,530 postmenopausal women 50-79 years completed baseline questionnaires between October 1993 and December 1998, which addressed alcohol and folate intake and breast cancer risk factors. Cox proportional hazards analysis examined the relationship between self-reported baseline alcohol and folate intake and incident breast cancer.

RESULTS: 1,783 breast cancer cases occurred over 5 years. Alcohol was associated with increased risk of breast cancer (RR = 1.005, 95%CI 1.001-1.009). Risk increased with consumption of alcohol (up to 5 g/d, adjusted HR = 1.10, 95%CI 0.96-1.32; >5-15 g/d HR = 1.14, 95%CI 0.99-1.31; and >15 g/d HR = 1.13 95%CI 0.96-1.32). We found no significant interaction between alcohol and folate in our adjusted model.

CONCLUSIONS: We found no evidence for folate attenuating alcohol's effect on breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Our results may be due to misclassification of folate intake or the relatively short follow-up period.




06 May 2014 In Cancer




Alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer among women in the general population, but its effect on women who carry a BRCA gene mutation is unclear. We conducted a case-control study of 1925 matched pairs of predominantly premenopausal women who carry a BRCA1 or a BRCA2 mutation. Information on current alcohol consumption was obtained from a questionnaire administered during the course of genetic counselling or at the time of enrolment. A modest inverse association between breast cancer and reported current alcohol consumption was observed among women with a BRCA1 mutation (OR = 0.82, 95% CI 0.70-0.96), but not among women with a BRCA2 mutation (OR = 1.00; 95% CI 0.71-1.41). Compared to non-drinkers, exclusive consumption of wine was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of breast cancer among BRCA1 carriers (p-trend = 0.01). Alcohol consumption does not appear to increase breast cancer risk in women carrying a BRCA gene mutation.




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