Page last updated: June 2, 2016
Alcohol consumption and colon cancer prognosis

Regular consumption of alcohol at levels above 30g/d is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, but its relationship with colon cancer survival has not been explored. Using data from a phase III randomised adjuvant trial, researchers assessed the association of alcohol consumption with colon cancer outcomes.

1,984 Patients completed a risk factor questionnaire. Information was collected on lifestyle factors, including smoking, physical activity, and consumption of different types of alcohol. Cox models assessed the association between alcohol consumption and outcomes of disease-free survival (DFS), time-to-recurrence (TTR) and overall survival (OS), adjusting for age, sex, study arm, body mass, smoking, physical activity, and performance status.

No statistically significant difference in outcomes between ever and never drinkers were noted [hazard ratio (HR) DFS =0.86, HRTTR =0.87, HROS =0.86, p-values=0.11 to 0.17]. However, when considering alcohol type, ever consumers of red wine (n=628) had significantly better outcomes than never consumers (HRDFS =0.80, HRTTR =0.81, HROS =0.78, p-values=0.01 to 0.02). Favourable outcomes were confirmed in patients who consumed 1-30 glasses/month of red wine (n=601, HR=0.80 to 0.83, p-values=0.03 to 0.049); there was a suggestion of more favourable outcomes in patients who consumed >30 glasses/month of red wine (n=27, HR=0.33 to 0.38, p-values=0.05 to 0.06).

Beer and liquor consumption were not associated with outcomes. Although alcohol consumption was not associated with colon cancer outcomes overall, mild to moderate red wine consumption was suggestively associated with longer overall survival, disease-free survival and time-to-recurrence in stage III colon cancer patients.

Source: Alcohol consumption and colon cancer prognosis among participants in North Central Cancer Treatment Group phase III trial N0147. Phipps AI, et al. Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. Int J Cancer, 2016 Apr 8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.30135.

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