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Monday, September 9, 2013

Critique 123: Alcohol consumption and lymphoid and myeloid neoplasms


Many prospective studies have shown that moderate drinkers are at lower risk
of certain lymphoid cancers. For example, the Million Women’s Study in the UK found that alcohol consumption showed a significant inverse association with the occurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Allen NE, Beral V, Casabonne D, Kan SW, Reeves GK, Brown A, Green J, for the Million Women Study Collaborators. Moderate alcohol intake and cancer incidence in women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2009;101:296-305). In a more recent publication from this study, investigators reported on 9,162 incident cases of haematological malignancy, including 7,047 lymphoid and 2,072 myeloid cancers. They conclude: “Among predominantly moderate alcohol drinkers, higher intake was associated with lower risk of lymphoid malignancies,” but they did not find a protective effect on the risk of myeloid tumors such as acute myeloid leukemia (Kroll ME, Murphy F, Pirie K, Reeves GK, Green J, Beral V, for the Million Women Study Collaborators. Alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking and subtypes of haematological malignancy in the UK Million Women Study. British Journal of Cancer 2012;107:879–887).

Overall, analyses from the Million Women Study, with much larger numbers of cases than the present analysis, indicate that none of the types of hematological cancer showed an increase in risk with alcohol consumption. Instead, in comparison with non-drinkers, the risk of lymphoid tumors was reduced among consumers of up to 3 drinks/week (the referent group), and reduced further among those consuming larger amounts of alcohol. The risk of myeloid tumors was not affected by alcohol intake. (A critique of the paper by Kroll et al is available as review # 095 on the Forum web-site,