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Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Apr 15;169(8):962-8. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwn422. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

Alcohol intake and cigarette smoking and risk of a contralateral breast cancer: The Women's Environmental Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Study.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada.


Women with primary breast cancer are at increased risk of developing second primary breast cancer. Few studies have evaluated risk factors for the development of asynchronous contralateral breast cancer in women with breast cancer. In the Women's Environmental Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Study (1985-2001), the roles of alcohol and smoking were examined in 708 women with asynchronous contralateral breast cancer (cases) compared with 1,399 women with unilateral breast cancer (controls). Cases and controls aged less than 55 years at first breast cancer diagnosis were identified from 5 population-based cancer registries in the United States and Denmark. Controls were matched to cases on birth year, diagnosis year, registry region, and race and countermatched on radiation treatment. Risk factor information was collected by telephone interview. Rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by using conditional logistic regression. Ever regular drinking was associated with an increased risk of asynchronous contralateral breast cancer (rate ratio = 1.3, 95% confidence interval: 1.0, 1.6), and the risk increased with increasing duration (P = 0.03). Smoking was not related to asynchronous contralateral breast cancer. In this, the largest study of asynchronous contralateral breast cancer to date, alcohol is a risk factor for the disease, as it is for a first primary breast cancer.

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