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Br J Dermatol. 2014 Dec;171(6):1451-7. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13291. Epub 2014 Nov 20.

Alcohol intake and early-onset basal cell carcinoma in a case-control study.

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Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT 06520, U.S.A.



Previous epidemiological studies of overall alcohol intake and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are inconsistent, with some evidence for differences by type of alcoholic beverage. While alcohol may enhance the carcinogenicity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, this has not been evaluated in existing epidemiological studies.


To evaluate alcohol intake in relation to early-onset BCC, and explore potential interactions with UV exposure.


Basal cell carcinoma cases (n = 380) and controls with benign skin conditions (n = 390) under 40 years of age were identified through Yale Dermatopathology. Participants provided information on lifetime alcohol intake, including type of beverage, during an in-person interview. Self-reported data on indoor tanning and outdoor sunbathing were used to categorize UV exposure. We calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using unconditional multivariate logistic regression in the full sample and in women only.


There was no statistically significant association between lifetime alcohol intake and early-onset BCC overall [above median intake vs. no regular alcohol intake (OR 1·10, 95% CI 0·69-1·73)] or in women only (OR 1·21, 95% CI 0·73-2·01). Similarly, intake of red wine, white wine, beer or spirits and mixed drinks was not associated with early-onset BCC. In exploratory analyses, we saw limited evidence for an interaction (P(interaction) = 0·003), with highest risk for high alcohol and high UV exposures, especially in women, but subgroup risk estimates had wide and overlapping CIs.


Overall, we did not observe any clear association between lifetime alcohol intake and early-onset BCC.

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