November 2005 HRT-Alcohol Study Attempts To Find Out More About Mechanism
Women who use postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy drugs and, at the same time, use alcohol are apparently at an increased risk of developing a specific type of breast cancer.
In the November 2, 2005 edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute appears a report by Dr. Alicja Wolk, from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and others which draws upon data from the population-based Swedish Mammography Cohort. According to their report, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with alcohol use increases estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer.
The researchers acknowledged that a few earlier medical studies had posited some mechanisms for an interaction between alcohol and breast cancer risk. The purpose of their study was to further investigate the relationship between alcohol consumption and hormone receptor tumor subtypes. For the details of this new study by Dr. Wolk and her associates we turn to a November 8, 2005 article from Reuters Health:
Dr. Wolk's group prospectively evaluated outcomes for approximately 52,000 Swedish women born between 1914 and 1948 who underwent mammography between 1987 and 1990. A follow-up questionnaire in 1997 included questions regarding alcohol consumption.
By 2004, a total of 1188 invasive breast cancer cases had been diagnosed for which ER and progesterone receptor (PR) status were known.
The highest alcohol intake (10 g/day or more) was associated with a multivariable adjusted risk ratio of 1.65 for ER-positive breast cancers, compared with nondrinkers. There was no significant association for ER-negative tumors, regardless of PR status.
The absolute rate of all ER-positive breast cancers was 232 per 100,000 person-years in the group with the highest alcohol intake compared with 158 per 100,000 among nondrinkers (p for trend < 0.001).
Dr. Wolk and her associates concluded from these findings that "alcohol may affect postmenopausal breast cancer through the ER-signaling pathway".
Finally, the authors of this November 2005 HRT-alcohol study found no evidence of an association between HRT use and invasive breast cancer risk among nondrinkers.
(Posted by: Tom Lamb)