Alcohol intake and breast cancer risk: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)

Anne Tjønneland, Jane Christensen, Anja Olsen, Connie Stripp, Birthe L. Thomsen, Kim Overvad, Petra H M Peeters, Carla H. Van Gils, H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, Marga C. Ocké, Anne Thiebaut, Agnès Fournier, Françoise Clavel-Chapelon, Franco Berrino, Domenico Palli, Rosario Tumino, Salvatore Panico, Paolo Vineis, Antonio Agudo, Eva ArdanazCarmen Martinez-Garcia, Pilar Amiano, Carmen Navarro, José R. Quirós, Tim J. Key, Gillian Reeves, Kay Tee Khaw, Sheila Bingham, Antonia Trichopoulou, Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Androniki Naska, Gabriele Nagel, Jenny Chang-Claude, Heiner Boeing, Petra H. Lahmann, Jonas Manjer, Elisabet Wirfält, Göran Hallmans, Ingegerd Johansson, Eiliv Lund, Guri Skeie, Anette Hjartåker, Pietro Ferrari, Nadia Slimani, Rudolf Kaaks, Elio Riboli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Most epidemiologic studies have suggested an increased risk of breast cancer with increasing alcohol intake. Using data from 274,688 women participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC), we investigated the relation between alcohol intake and the risk of breast cancer. Methods: Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) based on Cox proportional hazard models were calculated using reported intake of alcohol, recent (at baseline) and lifetime exposure. We adjusted for known risk factors and stratified according to study center as well as potentially modifying host factors. Results: During 6.4 years of follow up, 4,285 invasive cases of breast cancer within the age group 35-75 years were identified. For all countries together the IRR per 10 g/day higher recent alcohol intake (continuous) was 1.03 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01-1.05). When adjusted, no association was seen between lifetime alcohol intake and risk of breast cancer. No difference in risk was shown between users and non-users of HRT, and there was no significant interaction between alcohol intake and BMI, HRT or dietary folate. Conclusion: This large European study supports previous findings that recent alcohol intake increases the risk of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-373
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • Alcohol
  • Breast neoplasm
  • Cohort study
  • Hormone replacement therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology
  • Cancer Research


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