Alcohol and Hormone Positive Cancers
Frankly, I can't decide whether all this information re alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk is helpful to me or not. Since I really do like a glass of wine with dinner, I get grumpy whenever I read about good studies that suggest there may be a link between alcohol and both initial risk and recurrence risk. I then try to pick the studies apart and differentiate myself from the group considered to be at risk. Here is information about a new study, by Li and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, that looks even more carefully at recurrence risk by breast cancer subtype. The finding is that even moderate alcohol intake (and, yes, a glass of wine each night with dinner qualifies) increases the risk for ER positive lobular, but not ductal, cancers.
Here is an excerpt from a Medscape article and then the link to read the whole thing:
Alcohol Use Linked to Risk for Hormone-Sensitive Breast Cancers
News Author: Laurie Barclay, MD
CME Author: Laurie Barclay, MD
CME Released: 08/27/2010; Valid for credit through 08/27/2011
August 27, 2010 — Alcohol use is linked to a risk for hormone-sensitive breast cancers, according to results from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study reported Online First August 23 and to appear in the September 22 print issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
"Alcohol consumption is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer," write Christopher I. Li, MD, PhD, from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues. "This association is thought to be largely hormonally driven, so alcohol use may be more strongly associated with hormonally sensitive breast cancers. Few
studies have evaluated how alcohol-related risk varies by breast cancer subtype."
"[T]his study provides prospective evidence that the relationship between alcohol use and breast cancer risk varies by breast cancer subtype, with risks most pronounced for invasive lobular and hormone receptor-positive tumors," the study authors conclude. "Hence, alcohol is another established breast cancer risk factor that appears to be differentially
associated among breast cancer subtypes, and this pattern of associated risks indicates that tumors defined by both histology and hormone receptor status have somewhat different etiologic determinants. These findings highlight the importance of incorporating breast cancer subtype information in etiologic studies of the disease."