Moderate alcohol intake appears to be associated with a decreased risk of kidney cancer in middle-aged and older women, according to a study conducted in Sweden.
Dr. Alicja Wolk, of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and colleagues examined data on 59,237 women who were 40 to 76 years of age and cancer-free between 1987 and1990. The women had completed a food-frequency questionnaire that included questions about alcohol intake.
A total of 132 cases of kidney cancer - specifically a common type called renal cell carcinoma - were diagnosed by 2004, according to a report published in the International Journal of Cancer.
Overall, the women who drank at least one serving of alcohol per week had a 38 percent lower risk of renal cell carcinoma than those who drank less. For women over 55 years old, the risk was reduced even more - by 66 percent.
“The nature of the association between alcohol consumption and renal cell carcinoma is not well understood,” Wolk and colleagues note.
“In postmenopausal women, moderate consumption of alcohol was associated with decreased triglyceride concentrations,” they point out. “Thus, alcohol consumption has similar effects as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs ... use of which has been associated with a 20 percent decrease of renal cell carcinoma risk.”
SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, December 2005.
Revision date: July 9, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD