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Folate intake, alcohol and risk of breast cancer
The authors of a recent study evaluated the possible interaction between alcohol and folate in a paired nested case–control study among postmenopausal women. A total of 24,697 postmenopausal women were included in the ‘Diet, Cancer and Health’ follow-up study between December 1993 and May 1997. The cohort was followed until December, 2000. The study included 388 cases of breast cancer, and 388 randomly selected controls were used to estimate the breast cancer incidence rate ratio (IRR) in conditional logistic regression analysis.

Results showed that a previously established association between alcohol intake and risk of breast cancer was present mainly among women with low folate intake. An IRR of 1.19 (95% CI: 0.99–1.42) per 10 g average daily alcohol intake was found for women with a daily folate intake below 300 ug, while among women with a folate intake higher than 350 ug, they could not show an association between the alcohol intake and the breast cancer incidence rate [e.g., folate intake >400 ug: IRR of 1.01 (95% CI: 0.85–1.20)]. The authors conclude that the findings support the evidence that adequate folate intake may attenuate the risk of breast cancer associated with high alcohol intake.

Article: Tjønneland A, Christensen J, Olsen A, Stripp C, Nissen SB, Overvad K, Thomsen BL. Folate intake, alcohol and risk of breast cancer among post menopausal women in Denmark Eur J Clin Nutr 2006;60:280-286.

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