Increased risk of breast cancer with alcohol consumption in postmenopausal women

Susan M. Gapstur, John D. Potter, Thomas A. Sellers, Aaron R. Folsom

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155 Scopus citations


The association between breast cancer incidence and alcohol consumption among postmenopausal women was examined in the lowa Women's Health Study. In January 1986, a cohort of 41, 837 postmenopausal women, aged 55-69 years, completed a questionnaire that included alcohol intake and other information. Through December 1989, 493 incident breast cancer cases were identified. Age-adjusted relative risks of consumption of less than 1.5, 1.5-4.9, 5.0-14.9, and 15.0g or more of alcohol per day compared with abstention were 1.08, 1.10, 1.08, and 1.28, respectively (p for trend = 0.11). After controlling for age, body mass index, age at first livebirth, age at menarche, and family history of breast cancer, the relative risks were 1.18, 1.20, 1.25, and 1.46 (p for trend = 0.04). Multivariate modeling, using Cox proportional hazards regression, reveated a significant multiplicative interaction between alcohol intake and noncontraceptive estrogen use. The relative risks of breast cancer associated with average daily alcohol consumption of 5.0-14.9 and 15.0g or more were 1.88 (95% confidence interval 1.30-2.72) and 1.83 (95% confidence interval 1.18-2.85), respectively, among ever-users of estrogen; no association between alcohol and breast cancer was observed among neverusers of estrogen. Am J Epidemiol 1992; 136: 1221-31

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1221-1231
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grant R01-CA 39742 to Dr Aaron R. Folsom from the US National Cancer Institute. Susan M. Gapstur was supported by National Institutes of Health training grant T32 CA099607 to Dr. John D. Potter.


  • Alcohol drinking
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Cohort studies
  • Estrogen replacement therapy


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