Page last updated: June 2, 2016
Alcohol consumption and survival of colorectal cancer patients

Studies on the association between alcohol consumption and colorectal cancer (CRC) prognosis have yielded inconsistent results. The associations of lifetime and 1-y prediagnostic alcohol consumption with relevant prognostic outcomes were evaluated in a large populationbased cohort of CRC patients.

In 2003-2010, 3,121 patients diagnosed with CRC were interviewed on sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, medication, and comorbidities. Cancer recurrence, vital status, and cause of death were documented for a median follow-up time of 4.8 y. With the use of Cox proportional hazard regression, associations between lifetime and recent alcohol consumption and overall, CRC-specific, recurrencefree, and disease-free survival were analysed.

In this patient cohort with a median age of 69 y at diagnosis, lifetime abstainers showed poorer overall [adjusted HR (aHR): 1.25; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.52] and CRCspecific (aHR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.70) survival than lifetime light drinkers (women: >0-12 g/d; men: >0-24 g/d). Lifetime heavy drinkers showed poorer overall (aHR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.78) and disease-free (aHR: 1.38; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.74) survival. Alcohol abstaining in the year before diagnosis was associated with poorer overall (aHR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.20, 1.68), CRCspecific (aHR: 1.38; 95% CI: 1.13, 1.68), and diseasefree (aHR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.44) survival. Lifetime abstainers with nonmetastatic disease showed poorer CRC-specific (aHR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.10, 2.00) and recurrence-free (aHR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.70) survival. Wine abstaining but not beer or liquor abstaining was associated with poorer survival. Associations between alcohol consumption and prognosis varied according to presence of diabetes and age.

Prediagnostic alcohol abstaining and heavy drinking were associated with poorer survival after a CRC diagnosis than light drinking. The protective effects of light consumption might be restricted to wine, and associations might differ according to age and presence of diabetes mellitus.

Source: Alcohol consumption and survival of colorectal cancer patients: population-based study from Germany. Walter V, Jansen L, Ulrich A, Roth W, Bläker H, Chang- Claude J, Hoffmeister M, Brenner H. Am J Clin Nutr. First published May 4, 2016.

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