Page last updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Alcohol and lung cancer risk
Light to moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages does not appear to increase the risk of lung cancer, according to a study that involved more than 9,000 people over two generations.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that people who consume one to two alcoholic drinks a day have no greater chance of developing lung cancer than do non drinkers.

Data from the study was adjusted so that the effects of smoking, known to be the major cause of lung cancer, were statistically eliminated as a factor in the conclusion.

Dr. Luc Djousse of Boston University School of Medicine, the first author of the study, said his group used data from the famed Framingham, Mass., study that followed the health of thousands of participants since 1948. The research also includes data from the Framingham Offspring Study, which started in 1971 and involves children of the original study participants.

For the lung cancer study, Djousse and his co-authors examined health and survey data from 4,265 subjects in the original Framingham study, and 4,973 from the offspring study.

Researchers found 269 cases of lung cancer among the study participants. They were matched by age, gender and smoking history with participants who were not diagnosed with lung cancer. The researchers then compared the drinking habits of the group and concluded that light to moderate alcohol consumption was not a factor in the cancers.

Djousse found that the subcategory ‘offspring who drank more than two drinks (12g) a day’ showed an increased risk of lung cancer. The incidence of cancer in this group was double that of the nondrinkers of the same age, smoking history and gender.

SOURCE: Djoussé L et al. Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Lung Cancer: The Framingham Study. J Natl Cancer Inst 2002;94:1877-82.

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