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Breast J. 2011 Sep-Oct;17(5):477-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4741.2011.01133.x. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

Breast cancer risk in relation to alcohol consumption and BRCA gene mutations--a case-only study of gene-environment interaction.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.


The variable penetrance of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes suggests that other genetic or environmental factors may interact with these mutations to modify breast cancer risk. The objective of this study was to measure departures from multiplicative effects of alcohol consumption and BRCA gene mutations. A cohort of French-Canadian breast cancer patients was tested for BRCA gene mutations and completed a food frequency questionnaire. The case-only odds ratio (COR) was calculated. A total of 857 women, including 10 BRCA1 and 33 BRCA2 mutation carriers, participated in the study. No significant interaction between alcohol consumption and BRCA1 mutations was detected, although the interaction with wine consumption suggested a sub-multiplicative effect (COR = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.08-1.81). Consumption of alcohol other than wine interacted significantly with BRCA2 mutations (COR = 2.15, 95% CI: 1.03-4.49). Consumption of wine may protect against BRCA1-associated tumors, while women with BRCA2 mutations may be at greater risk of alcohol-induced breast cancer.

© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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