15 june 2022

Alcohol intake trajectories during the life course and risk of alcohol-related cancer: A prospective cohort study

We examined associations between sex-specific alcohol intake trajectories and alcohol-related cancer risk using data from 22 756 women and 15 701 men aged 40 to 69 years at baseline in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. Alcohol intake for 10-year periods from age 20 until the decade encompassing recruitment, calculated using recalled beverage-specific frequency and quantity, was used to estimate group-based sex-specific intake trajectories. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for primary invasive alcohol-related cancer (upper aerodigestive tract, breast, liver and colorectum). Three distinct alcohol intake trajectories for women (lifetime abstention, stable light, increasing moderate) and six for men (lifetime abstention, stable light, stable moderate, increasing heavy, early decreasing heavy, late decreasing heavy) were identified. 2303 incident alcohol-related cancers were diagnosed during 485 525 person-years in women and 789 during 303 218 person-years in men. For men, compared with lifetime abstention, heavy intake (mean >/= 60 g/day) at age 20 to 39 followed by either an early (from age 40 to 49) (early decreasing heavy; HR = 1.75, 95% CI: 1.25-2.44) or late decrease (from age 60 to 69) (late decreasing heavy; HR = 1.94, 95% CI: 1.28-2.93), and moderate intake (mean <60 g/day) at age 20 to 39 increasing to heavy intake in middle-age (increasing heavy; HR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.06-1.97) were associated with increased risk of alcohol-related cancer. For women, compared with lifetime abstention, increasing intake from age 20 (increasing moderate) was associated with increased alcohol-related cancer risk (HR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.06-1.48). Similar associations were observed for colorectal (men) and breast cancer. Heavy drinking during early adulthood might increase cancer risk later in life.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Bassett J. K.; MacInnis R. J.; Yang Y.; Hodge A. M.; Lynch B. M.; English D. R.; Giles G. G.; Milne R. L.; Jayasekara H.
  • Issue

    volume 151
  • Published Date

    15 june 2022