Alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer among women in the general population, but its effect on women who carry a BRCA gene mutation is unclear. We conducted a case-control study of 1925 matched pairs of predominantly premenopausal women who carry a BRCA1 or a BRCA2 mutation. Information on current alcohol consumption was obtained from a questionnaire administered during the course of genetic counselling or at the time of enrolment. A modest inverse association between breast cancer and reported current alcohol consumption was observed among women with a BRCA1 mutation (OR = 0.82, 95% CI 0.70-0.96), but not among women with a BRCA2 mutation (OR = 1.00; 95% CI 0.71-1.41). Compared to non-drinkers, exclusive consumption of wine was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of breast cancer among BRCA1 carriers (p-trend = 0.01). Alcohol consumption does not appear to increase breast cancer risk in women carrying a BRCA gene mutation.
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