Alcohol, Anthropometrics, and Breast Cancer Risk in African American Women: LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

The Breast Journal

Publication Date


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Alcohol consumption is an extensively studied risk factor for breast cancer; however limited data are available for African American women. Given the higher levels of obesity in African Americans, as well as disparities in breast cancer prognosis, we investigated the associations between alcohol consumption and breast cancer and examined effect modification of weekly alcohol consumption by anthropometric measures, specifically, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and body mass index (BMI) as well as plasma leptin concentrations in a small African American case-control study (cases = 97; controls = 102). Ever drinkers in our study reported significantly lower alcohol consumption than reported for other racial/ethnic populations and most often consumed wine. Bessaoud and colleagues (1) demonstrated a significant reduction in risk among women who consumed approximately one drink of wine per day compared to non-drinkers. These data support the hypothesis that wine consumption, at low levels, elicits a protective effect against breast cancer due to its high content of antioxidants and the phytoestrogen, resveratrol. This protective effect could explain why we observed a 53% reduction in risk in our study. We demonstrated a 77% breast cancer risk reduction among women who had low WHR and moderately consumed alcohol (Table 1). This is the first report showing such a reduction in alcohol-related breast cancer risk. An earlier study consisting of a large number of African Americans (2), reported no association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, which does not support the positive association reported in recent studies (3–5).






Public Health

Comments/Extra Notes

Additional authors: Adams-Campbell, Lucile L.