Alcohol consumption not associated with lung cancer mortality in lifelong nonsmokers.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Aug; 18(8):2269-72.CE
Although alcohol consumption is associated with increased lung cancer risk in some studies, this relationship is difficult to interpret because of potential confounding by smoking. We measured lung cancer death rates in relation to self-reported alcohol consumption among 223,216 adults who reported no history of regular smoking when enrolled in a large prospective mortality study begun by the American Cancer Society in 1982. Participants were at least 30 years of age when enrolled and, consequently, were considered unlikely to initiate smoking during follow-up. During 24 years of follow-up, we identified 1,058 deaths from lung cancer. Cox proportional hazards analyses were conducted, adjusting for age, education, occupation, and race. No association between lung cancer mortality and any level of alcohol consumption was seen in men or women. Even among those who consumed four or more alcoholic drinks per day, the risk did not differ from those who abstained from alcohol [hazard ratios 0.97 (95% confidence interval, 0.76-1.22) and 0.69 (0.41-1.16) for men and women, respectively]. Due to the large population of lifelong nonsmokers in our cohort and the long period of follow-up, these findings provide substantial evidence against the hypothesis that alcohol consumption independently increases lung cancer risk.