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Alcohol consumption and risk of lymphoid and myeloid neoplasms: Results of the Netherlands cohort study

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Author: Heinen, M.M. · Verhage, B.A.J. · Schouten, L.J. · Goldbohm, R.A. · Schouten, H.C. · Brandt, P.A. van den
Source:International journal of cancer, 7, 133, 1701-1712
Identifier: 471713
doi: doi:10.1002/ijc.28175
Keywords: Health · Alcoholic Beverages · Cohort Study · Ethanol · Lymphoid Neoplasms · Myeloid Neoplasms · Healthy for Life · Healthy Living · Human · LS - Life Style · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences


Results from epidemiological studies suggest that alcohol drinkers have a decreased risk of lymphoid neoplasms, whereas results for myeloid neoplasms are inconsistent. However, most of these studies have used retrospective data. We examined prospectively whether alcohol consumption decreases the risk of both lymphoid and myeloid neoplasms, including most common subtypes. Moreover, we investigated whether this decreased risk is due to ethanol or other contents of specific alcoholic beverages (i.e., beer, wine and liquor). The Netherlands cohort study consisted of 120,852 individuals who completed a baseline questionnaire in 1986. After 17.3 years of follow-up, 1,375 cases of lymphoid and 245 cases of myeloid neoplasms with complete exposure information were available for analysis. Compared with abstinence, we observed for plasma cell neoplasms hazard rate ratios (HR) of 1.66 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.21-2.29), 1.63 (95% CI, 1.17-2.27), 1.11 (95% CI, 0.75-1.64) and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.51-1.42) with daily ethanol consumption of 0.1-<5, 5-<15, 15-<30 and ≥30 g, respectively. A similar pattern was observed for chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma. No associations were observed for other subtypes and for myeloid neoplasms. When results were analyzed by beverage type, no clear associations were observed. In conclusion, our study did not show an inverse association between alcohol consumption and lymphoid neoplasms. Also, no inverse association was observed with myeloid neoplasms. If any association between alcohol consumption and lymphoid neoplasms exists, our study suggests an increased risk rather than a decreased risk. What's new? Recent epidemiological studies suggest that alcohol consumption may protect from hematological malignancies, especially nonhodgkin lymphoma. In this large prospective study, the authors analyzed data from the Netherlands Cohort Study including more than 1, 600 cases of lymphoid and myeloid neoplasms. No inverse correlation with alcohol consumption was found; instead, the data suggest that alcohol consumption promotes hematological cancers. As this study includes a larger number of cases as compared to previous studies, it contributes substantially to the growing, yet inconclusive evidence of an association between alcohol consumption and lymphoid and myeloid neoplasms. © 2013 UICC.