24 February 2016 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: There is limited evidence on the association between dietary folate intake and the risk of breast cancer (BC) by hormone receptor expression in the tumors. We investigated the relationship between dietary folate and BC risk using data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

METHODS: A total of 367993 women age 35 to 70 years were recruited in 10 European countries. During a median follow-up of 11.5 years, 11575 women with BC were identified. Dietary folate intake was estimated from country-specific dietary questionnaires. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to quantify the association between dietary variables and BC risk. BC tumors were classified by receptor status. Subgroup analyses were performed by menopausal status and alcohol intake. Intake of other B vitamins was considered. All statistical tests were two-sided.

RESULTS: A borderline inverse association was observed between dietary folate and BC risk (hazard ratio comparing top vs bottom quintile [HRQ5-Q1] = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.83 to 1.01, P trend = .037). In premenopausal women, we observed a statistically significant trend towards lower risk in estrogen receptor-negative BC (HRQ5-Q1 = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.45 to 0.96, P trend = .042) and progesterone receptor-negative BC (HRQ5-Q1 = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.97, P trend = .021). No associations were found in postmenopausal women. A 14% reduction in BC risk was observed when comparing the highest with the lowest dietary folate tertiles in women having a high (>12 alcoholic drinks/week) alcohol intake (HRT3-T1 = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.75 to 0.98, P interaction = .035).

CONCLUSIONS: Higher dietary folate intake may be associated with a lower risk of sex hormone receptor-negative BC in premenopausal women.

26 November 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

AIMS: In Italy, sales data show a dramatic fall in alcohol consumption between 1970 and 2010. The aim of our study is to provide updated information on trends, prevalence and determinants of alcohol drinking in Italy, using individual-level data.

METHODS: Seven nationally representative cross-sectional surveys were conducted in Italy between 2006 and 2014, on a total sample of 21,416 participants aged >/=15 years, with available information on weekly consumption of wine, beer and spirits.

RESULTS: Per capita alcohol consumption decreased by 23% between 2006 and 2014 (from 5.6 to 4.4 drinks/week), due to the fall in wine drinking. Overall, the prevalence of alcohol drinkers was 61.6%. Individuals predominantly drinking wine were 35.3%, beer 11.1% and spirits 6.4%. A direct trend of drinking with age was observed for total alcohol (multivariate odds ratio, OR = 1.75 for >/=65 vs. 15-24 years) and predominant wine drinking (OR = 8.05), while an inverse trend was observed for beer (OR = 0.17) and spirit drinkers (OR = 0.33). Women (OR = 0.24), obese individuals (OR = 0.67) and those from southern Italy (OR = 0.63) were less frequently, while those with high education (OR = 1.97), ex- (OR = 1.46) and current smokers (OR = 2.17) were more frequently alcohol drinkers.

CONCLUSION: On the basis of individual-level data we confirm and further update to 2014 the decreasing trend in alcohol consumption in Italy over the last few decades, mainly due to the fall in wine consumption. This may be due to anti-alcohol policies, programs and campaigns adopted and developed over the last decade. It also reflects socio-cultural changes in drinking, particularly in younger generations.

16 October 2015 In Cancer

Alcohol consumption is a major cause of disease and death. In a previous study, we reported that in 2002, 3.6% of all cases of cancer and a similar proportion of cancer deaths were attributable to the consumption of alcohol. We aimed to update these figures to 2012 using global estimates of cancer cases and cancer deaths, data on the prevalence of drinkers from the World Health Organization (WHO) global survey on alcohol and health, and relative risks for alcohol-related neoplasms from a recent meta-analysis. Over the 10-year period considered, the total number of alcohol-attributable cancer cases increased to approximately 770,000 worldwide (5.5% of the total number of cancer cases) - 540,000 men (7.2%) and 230,000 women (3.5%). Corresponding figures for cancer deaths attributable to alcohol consumption increased to approximately 480,000 (5.8% of the total number of cancer deaths) in both sexes combined - 360,000 (7.8%) men and 115,000 (3.3%) women. These proportions were particularly high in the WHO Western Pacific region, the WHO European Region and the WHO South-East Asia region. A high burden of cancer mortality and morbidity is attributable to alcohol, and public health measures should be adopted in order to limit excessive alcohol consumption.

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16 October 2015 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer aetiology may differ by estrogen receptor (ER) status. Associations of alcohol and folate intakes with risk of breast cancer defined by ER status were examined in pooled analyses of the primary data from 20 cohorts.

METHODS: During a maximum of 6-18 years of follow-up of 1 089 273 women, 21 624 ER+ and 5113 ER- breast cancers were identified. Study-specific multivariable relative risks (RRs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression models and then combined using a random-effects model.

RESULTS: Alcohol consumption was positively associated with risk of ER+ and ER- breast cancer. The pooled multivariable RRs (95% confidence intervals) comparing >/= 30 g/d with 0 g/day of alcohol consumption were 1.35 (1.23-1.48) for ER+ and 1.28 (1.10-1.49) for ER- breast cancer (Ptrend /= 0.26). Dietary (from foods only) and total folate intakes were not associated with risk of overall, ER+ and ER- breast cancer; pooled multivariable RRs ranged from 0.98 to 1.02 comparing extreme quintiles. Following-up US studies through only the period before mandatory folic acid fortification did not change the results. The alcohol and folate associations did not vary by tumour subtypes defined by progesterone receptor status.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption was positively associated with risk of both ER+ and ER- breast cancer, even among women with high folate intake. Folate intake was not associated with breast cancer risk.

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