25 October 2016 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: The association between alcohol intake and breast cancer recurrence or development of second primary breast cancer in the survivor population is unclear. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the existing evidence to assess the extent to which alcohol consumption is associated with breast cancer recurrence and second primary breast cancer.

METHODS: Six databases (Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science) were searched using the following search phrase: (breast cancer OR breast adenocarcinoma OR breast neoplasm OR breast tumour) AND (alcohol * OR alcohol intake OR alcohol consumption OR ethanol) AND (recurrence OR second primary). A narrative synthesis was conducted on studies meeting the inclusion criteria.

RESULTS: After screening, 16 studies met the inclusion criteria, of which 11 assessed breast cancer recurrence and 5 assessed second primary breast cancer. Considerable clinical and methodological heterogeneity was observed between studies. Approximately half of the included studies observed a modest, but significant, association between alcohol consumption and increased risk of breast cancer recurrence or development of a second primary breast cancer, with some studies observing associations from as little as six grams of alcohol intake per day. Two studies suggest this association was stronger in postmenopausal women.

CONCLUSION: There is some evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer recurrence, particularly in postmenopausal women. The association between alcohol and development of a second primary breast cancer is less clear. Inconsistencies in methodology and results across studies complicate attempts to develop a cohesive interpretation of findings.

25 October 2016 In Cancer

OBJECTIVE: To determine the association of prediagnostic alcohol consumption with long-term mortality from breast cancer and other causes in a cohort of women with breast cancer.

METHODS: We studied a Michigan-based cohort of 939 women aged 40-84 years, who provided complete information about the type, amount and intensity of prediagnostic alcohol consumption. Associations of alcohol consumption, based on weekly volume of alcohol consumption during the year prior to breast cancer diagnosis, with mortality were evaluated in Cox proportional hazards models, with adjustment for sociodemographic factors, body mass index, smoking, comorbidity, tumor characteristics, and treatment. Differences among covariates were assessed with Pearson chi2 , Student t -tests and Wilcoxon Rank Sum tests. All statistical tests were two-sided.

RESULTS: During a median follow-up of 11 years, 724 deaths occurred overall, with 303 from breast cancer. Fifty-five percent of the women were categorized as drinkers with volume of alcohol consumption ranging from 0.75 to 36.00 drinks/week. In multivariable models, a decreased risk of other-cause mortality was associated with low alcohol drinking (0.75-3.75 drinks/week; HR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.47-0.78), moderate volume alcohol drinking (4.00-9.75 drinks/week; HR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.39-0.85) and low frequency (0.75-3.75 drinks/week) beer and wine intake (HR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.50-0.96 and HR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.52-0.88 respectively). Although the risk of breast cancer-specific mortality was not statistically significantly associated with moderate (4.00-9.75 drinks/week) and high volume (10.00-36.00 drinks/week) alcohol drinking in the overall cohort (HR = 1.43, 95% CI = 95% 0.97-2.12 and HR = 1.53, 95% CI = 0.87-2.70 respectively), there was a positive association of alcohol consumption with breast cancer-specific mortality among current smokers (HR = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.03-3.57; Pinteraction = 0.04).

CONCLUSION: In this prospective cohort study, regular consumption of 0.75-36.00 alcoholic drinks per week during the year prior to breast cancer diagnosis was associated with a reduction in other-cause mortality and with an increase in breast cancer-specific mortality among current smokers, after taking into account clinical and sociodemographic factors.

25 October 2016 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Percent breast density (PBD) is a strong risk factor for breast cancer that is influenced by several other risk factors for the disease. Alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer with an uncertain association with PBD. We have carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the association of alcohol consumption with PBD.

METHODS: We searched nine databases to identify all relevant studies on the association between alcohol intake and breast density. Two independent investigators evaluated and selected 20 studies that were included in our analyses. We divided the studies into 3 groups according to the methods used to measure and analyze the association of BD with alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: Meta-analysis of the 11 studies that used quantitative methods to measure and analyse PBD as a continuous variable found a statistically significant difference in PBD when comparing the highest to the lowest alcohol level (beta = 0.84, 95% CI 0.12, 1.56). Three studies that used quantitative methods to measure PBD and categories of PBD for analysis had a summary odds ratio = 1.81 (95% CI: 1.07, 3.04). Five studies that used categories to classify PBD and analyse their association with alcohol intake had a summary odds ratio=1.78 (95% CI: 0.90, 3.51).

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that there is a positive association between alcohol intake and PBD. IMPACT: Alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer associated with PMB.

21 September 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVES: To review critical contributions from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) on alcohol consumption and health outcomes.

METHODS: We performed a narrative review of NHS (1980-2012) and NHS II (1989-2011) publications.

RESULTS: Using detailed information on self-reported alcohol drinking patterns obtained approximately every 4 years combined with extensive information on diet, lifestyle habits, and physician-diagnosed health conditions, NHS investigators have prospectively examined the risks and benefits associated with alcohol consumption. Moderate intake, defined as up to 1 drink a day, is associated with a lower risk of hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, sudden cardiac death, gallstones, cognitive decline, and all-cause mortality. However, even moderate intake places women at higher risk for breast cancer and bone fractures, and higher intake increases risk for colon polyps and colon cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: Regular alcohol intake has both risks and benefits. In analyses using repeated assessments of alcohol over time and deaths from all causes, women with low to moderate intake and regular frequency (> 3 days/week) had the lowest risk of mortality compared with abstainers and women who consumed substantially more than 1 drink per day.

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