Page last updated:January 10, 2017
Alcohol consumption and mortality after breast cancer diagnosis

A study published in the journal Breast Disease investigated the association of prediagnostic alcohol consumption with long-term mortality from breast cancer and other causes in a cohort of women with breast cancer.

The research used data from 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.

During a median follow-up of 11 years, 724 deaths occurred overall, with 303 from breast cancer. 55% of the women were categorised 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; P interaction = 0.04).

In this 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.

Source: Alcohol consumption and mortality after breast cancer diagnosis: the Health and Functioning in Women study. Din N; Allen IE; Satariano WA; Demb J; Braithwaite D. Breast Disease Vol 36, No 2-3, 2016, pp77-89.

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