AHRQ publishes evidence report on the relationship of alcohol consumption to breast and colorectal cancer

Research Activities, February 2011, No. 366

Alcoholic beverages, drunk by more than half of all American adults at least once a month, are suspected of increasing the risk of breast or colorectal cancer because of findings from human, animal, and cell studies. A new AHRQ evidence report, Alcohol Consumption & Cancer Risk : Understanding Possible Causal Mechanisms for Breast and Colorectal Cancers, points to several potential mechanisms by which alcohol may influence the development of these cancers. However, the importance of any one mechanism is not apparent at this time. Most studies examining the mechanisms connecting alcohol to cancer risk use animal models, which may not be directly applicable to humans.

The researchers, Olu Oyesanmi, M.D., M.P.H, and David Snyder, Ph.D., of AHRQ's ECRI Institute Evidence-based Practice Center, noted that although the majority of the epidemiology studies reported that alcohol was associated with an increased risk of both breast and colorectal cancers, they could not discount the influence of other factors, such as diet and lifestyle. The evidence review was requested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Access the report at Alcohol Consumption and Cancer Risk .

Current as of February 2011
Internet Citation: AHRQ publishes evidence report on the relationship of alcohol consumption to breast and colorectal cancer: Research Activities, February 2011, No. 366. February 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/feb11/0211RA36.html