Wine Won’t Cut Breast Cancer Risk
White or Red Wine: Neither Shown to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk; Drinking in Excess Raises Risk, Study Shows
March 9, 2009 -- Red or white wine with dinner? A new study suggests a
woman’s wine choice should be based on personal preference rather than any hope
that a wine’s color may affect its breast cancer-fighting ability.
"We found no difference between red or white wine in relation to breast
cancer risk. Neither appears to have any benefits," researcher Polly
Newcomb, PhD, MPH, head of the Cancer Prevention Program at the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center in Seattle, says in a news release.
"If a woman drinks, she should do so in moderation -- no more than one
drink a day. And if a woman chooses red wine, she should do so because she
likes the taste, not because she thinks it may reduce her risk of breast
In fact, researchers found that women who drank 14 or more alcoholic drinks
per week, regardless of type (beer, wine, or liquor), had a 24% higher risk of
breast cancer than non-drinkers.
Wine Color Irrelevant to Breast Cancer Risk
Newcomb says there was reason to suspect that red wine might have beneficial
effects in preventing breast cancer based on previous studies on red wine's
positive effects on heart disease and prostate cancer risk.
"We were interested in teasing out red wine's effects on breast cancer
risk,” Newcomb says. "The general evidence is that alcohol consumption
overall increases breast cancer risk, but the other studies made us wonder
whether red wine might in fact have some positive value."
In the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and
Prevention, researchers interviewed 6,327 women with breast cancer and
7,558 age-matched healthy women about their drinking habits. Equal proportions
of women reported drinking white and red wine in both groups.
After controlling for other known breast cancer risk factors, such as family
history, researchers found that wine drinking was not associated with any
higher or lower risk of breast cancer, regardless of whether the wine was red
However, women who drank more alcoholic drinks in general (14 or more per
week), especially liquor, had a higher risk of breast cancer.
Researchers say this was one of the largest studies of its kind to examine
the relationship between wine and breast cancer, and the results suggest
neither red nor white wine is related to breast cancer.