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BMJ. 2016 May 11;353:i2314. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i2314.

Five year change in alcohol intake and risk of breast cancer and coronary heart disease among postmenopausal women: prospective cohort study.

Author information

1
National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, 1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark.
2
Social Medicine Section, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen.
3
Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, Copenhagen.
4
Department of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark Department of Cardiology, Aalborg University Hospital, Hobrogade, Aalborg, Denmark.
5
National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, 1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark jst@niph.dk.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the hypothesis that postmenopausal women who increase their alcohol intake over a five year period have a higher risk of breast cancer and a lower risk of coronary heart disease compared with stable alcohol intake.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

Denmark, 1993-2012.

PARTICIPANTS:

21 523 postmenopausal women who participated in the Diet, Cancer, and Health Study in two consecutive examinations in 1993-98 and 1999-2003. Information on alcohol intake was obtained from questionnaires completed by participants.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Incidence of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and all cause mortality during 11 years of follow-up. Information was obtained from the Danish Cancer Register, Danish Hospital Discharge Register, Danish Register of Causes of Death, and National Central Person Register. We estimated hazard ratios according to five year change in alcohol intake using Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS:

During the study, 1054, 1750, and 2080 cases of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and mortality occurred, respectively. Analyses modelling five year change in alcohol intake with cubic splines showed that women who increased their alcohol intake over the five year period had a higher risk of breast cancer and a lower risk of coronary heart disease than women with a stable alcohol intake. For instance, women who increased their alcohol intake by seven or 14 drinks per week (corresponding to one or two drinks more per day) had hazard ratios of breast cancer of 1.13 (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.23) and 1.29 (1.07 to 1.55), respectively, compared to women with stable intake, and adjusted for age, education, body mass index, smoking, Mediterranean diet score, parity, number of births, and hormone replacement therapy. For coronary heart disease, corresponding hazard ratios were 0.89 (0.81 to 0.97) and 0.78 (0.64 to 0.95), respectively, adjusted for age, education, body mass index, Mediterranean diet score, smoking, physical activity, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes. Results among women who reduced their alcohol intake over the five year period were not significantly associated with risk of breast cancer or coronary heart disease. Analyses of all cause mortality showed that women who increased their alcohol intake from a high intake (≥14 drinks per week) to an even higher intake had a higher mortality risk that women with a stable high intake.

CONCLUSION:

In this study of postmenopausal women over a five year period, results support the hypotheses that alcohol intake is associated with increased risk of breast cancer and decreased risk of coronary heart disease.

PMID:
27169583
PMCID:
PMC5068920
DOI:
10.1136/bmj.i2314
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

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