Some studies have found an inverse correlation between alcohol use and risk of haematopoietic cancer. This large case-control study examined associtations with alcohol use in adult acute leukaemia.
Between January 1986 and June 1989, 811 incident cases of adult acute leukaemia were recruited at diagnosis. Controls were frequency-matched to cases by age, sex, race and region of residence. There were 765 cases and 618 controls. All participants in the study were asked about their weekly consumption of beer, wine and spirits. Subjects were classifed in to ‘irregular’, ‘light’, ‘moderate’ or ‘heavy’ drinkers (<1,1-5,6-8 and >8 drinks/week respectively).
Weekly alcohol use was reported by 50% of cases and 57% of controls. The beverage most commonly drunk on a regular basis was beer (37%), followed by spirits (21%) and wine (20%). Relative to irregular drinkers, regular drinkers had a reduced risk of acute leukaemia (regardless of beverage type). However logistic regression modelling revealled an inverse association with risk of acute adult leukaemia for light and ‘moderate’ beer drinkers (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.60-0.93). In contrast a positive correlation was found for ‘moderate’ and ‘heavy’ wine drinkers (RR 2.1,95% CI 1.2-3.8).
The study concludes that wine may be a moderate risk factor for adult acute leukaemia while beer has a protective effect. The divergent effects might reflect the effect of different nutrients in beer and wine.
Source: Rauscher GH, Shore D, Sandler DP. Alcohol intake and incidence of de novo adult acute leukaemia. Leukemia Res 28 (2004) 126301265