Moderate alcohol consumption during adult life, drinking patterns, and breast cancer risk

Wendy Y. Chen, Bernard Rosner, Susan E. Hankinson, Graham A. Colditz, Walter C. Willett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

263 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context: Multiple studies have linked alcohol consumption to breast cancer risk, but the risk of lower levels of consumption has not been well quantified. In addition, the role of drinking patterns (ie, frequency of drinking and "binge" drinking) and consumption at different times of adult life are not well understood. Objective: To evaluate the association of breast cancer with alcohol consumption during adult life, including quantity, frequency, and age at consumption. Design, Setting, and Participants: Prospective observational study of 105 986 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study followed up from 1980 until 2008 with an early adult alcohol assessment and 8 updated alcohol assessments. Main Outcome Measures: Relative risks of developing invasive breast cancer. Results: During 2.4 million person-years of follow-up, 7690 cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed. Increasing alcohol consumption was associated with increased breast cancer risk that was statistically significant at levels as low as 5.0 to 9.9 g per day, equivalent to 3 to 6 drinks per week (relative risk, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.06-1.24; 333 cases/100 000 person-years). Binge drinking, but not frequency of drinking, was associated with breast cancer risk after controlling for cumulative alcohol intake. Alcohol intake both earlier and later in adult life was independently associated with risk. Conclusions: Low levels of alcohol consumption were associated with a small increase in breast cancer risk, with the most consistent measure being cumulative alcohol intake throughout adult life. Alcohol intake both earlier and later in adult life was independently associated with risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1884-1890
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume306
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2011

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Moderate alcohol consumption during adult life, drinking patterns, and breast cancer risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this