Alcohol consumption and survival of colorectal cancer patients: a population-based study from Germany1,2

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Abstract

Background:

Studies on the association between alcohol consumption and colorectal cancer (CRC) prognosis have yielded inconsistent results.

Objective:

The associations of lifetime and 1-y prediagnostic alcohol consumption with relevant prognostic outcomes were evaluated in a large population-based cohort of CRC patients.

Design:

In 2003–2010, 3121 patients diagnosed with CRC were interviewed on sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, medication, and comorbidities. Cancer recurrence, vital status, and cause of death were documented for a median follow-up time of 4.8 y. With the use of Cox proportional hazard regression, associations between lifetime and recent alcohol consumption and overall, CRC-specific, recurrence-free, and disease-free survival were analyzed.

Results:

In this patient cohort with a median age of 69 y at diagnosis, lifetime abstainers showed poorer overall [adjusted HR (aHR): 1.25; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.52] and CRC-specific (aHR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.70) survival than lifetime light drinkers (women: >0–12 g/d; men: >0–24 g/d). Lifetime heavy drinkers showed poorer overall (aHR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.78) and disease-free (aHR: 1.38; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.74) survival. Alcohol abstaining in the year before diagnosis was associated with poorer overall (aHR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.20, 1.68), CRC-specific (aHR: 1.38; 95% CI: 1.13, 1.68), and disease-free (aHR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.44) survival. Lifetime abstainers with nonmetastatic disease showed poorer CRC-specific (aHR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.10, 2.00) and recurrence-free (aHR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.70) survival. Wine abstaining but not beer or liquor abstaining was associated with poorer survival. Associations between alcohol consumption and prognosis varied according to presence of diabetes and age.

Conclusions:

Prediagnostic alcohol abstaining and heavy drinking were associated with poorer survival after a CRC diagnosis than light drinking. The protective effects of light consumption might be restricted to wine, and associations might differ according to age and presence of diabetes mellitus.

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