Alcohol is considered to be a co-carcinogen as well as a tumor promoter, with several studies showing a linear dose-dependent association for breast cancer. However, moderate alcohol consumption has been found to be protective as far as cardiovascular diseases are concerned. This study aimed to evaluate the association of alcohol intake with breast cancer.
In a case-control study, two hundred and fifty newly diagnosed (within six months) breast cancer patients with first developed breast cancer (56±12 years) and 250 age-matched controls were studied.
A special questionnaire assessing various sociodemographic, clinical, lifestyle and dietary characteristics, was applied through face-to-face interviews. Moreover, frequency of alcohol intake (i.e., never, rarely, 3-4 times/month, 1-2 times/week, 3-4 times/week, daily) and type (i.e., red or white wine, beer, whisky, other beverages) of alcoholic beverages consumed were also recorded. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was evaluated using the MedDietScore (theoretical range 0-55).
Alcohol drinking on a weekly basis (i.e., 3-4 times/ week) was associated with lower likelihood of having breast cancer (OR=0.16; 95% CI 0.03, 0.80), while higher consumption showed opposite results. Moreover, it was revealed that wine drinking was associated with lower odds of breast cancer (OR=0.60; 95% CI 0.35, 1.00) with no significant differences between red or white wine.
Moderate alcohol intake, and especially wine consumption, seem to be associated with breast cancer prevention. The authors note that the major limitation of this study was the potential recall bias.
Source: The j-shaped association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer: a case-control study. Mourouti N, Kontogianni MD, Papavagelis C, Psaltopoulou T, Plytzanopoulou P, Vassilakou T, Malamos N, et al. Current Nutrition and Food Science, Vol 10, No 2, 2014, pp120- 127.