Alcohol drinking and multiple myeloma risk - A systematic review and meta-analysis of the dose-risk relationship

Matteo Rota, Lorenzo Porta, Claudio Pelucchi, Eva Negri, Vincenzo Bagnardi, Rino Bellocco, Giovanni Corrao, Paolo Boffetta, Carlo La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of alcohol intake in the risk for multiple myeloma (MM) is unclear, although some recent findings suggest an inverse relationship. To summarize the information on the topic, we carried out a systematic review and a dose-risk meta-analysis of published data. Through the literature search until August 2013, we identified 18 studies, eight case-control and 10 cohort studies, carried out in a total of 5694 MM patients. We derived pooled meta-analytic estimates using random-effects models, taking into account the correlation between estimates, and we carried out a dose-risk analysis using a class of nonlinear random-effects meta-regression models. The relative risk for alcohol drinkers versus non/occasional drinkers was 0.97 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.85-1.10] overall, 0.96 (95% CI, 0.74-1.24) among case-control studies, and 1.00 (95% CI, 0.89-1.13) among cohort studies. Compared with nondrinkers, the pooled relative risks were 0.96 (95% CI, 0.81-1.13) for light (i.e. ≤1 drink/day) and 0.89 (95% CI, 0.74-1.07) for moderate-to-heavy (i.e. >1 drink/day) alcohol drinkers. The dose-risk analysis revealed a model-based MM risk reduction of about 15% at two to four drinks/day (i.e. 25-50 g of ethanol). The present meta-analysis of published data found no strong association between alcohol drinking and MM risk, although a modest favorable effect emerged for moderate-to-heavy alcohol drinkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • alcohol drinking
  • dose-risk relation
  • meta-analysis
  • multiple myeloma
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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