American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Press Releases

Drinking Wine May Increase Survival among Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Patients


April 21, 2009

DENVER - Pre-diagnostic wine consumption may reduce the risk of death and relapse among non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients, according to an epidemiology study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting 2009.

Xuesong Han, the first author of the abstract and a doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Public Health, said their findings would need to be replicated before any public health recommendations are made, but the evidence is becoming clearer that moderate consumption of wine has numerous benefits.

"This conclusion is controversial, because excessive drinking has a negative social and health impact, and it is difficult to define what is moderate and what is excessive," said Han. "However, we are continually seeing a link between wine and positive outcomes in many cancers."

This study was the first to examine the link among patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Han and her colleagues analyzed data about 546 women with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

They found that those who drank wine had a 76 percent five-year survival compared with 68 percent for non-wine drinkers. Further research found five-year, disease-free survival was 70 percent among those who drank wine compared with 65 percent among non-wine drinkers.

Beer and/or liquor consumption did not show a benefit.

The study team at Yale also looked at subgroups of lymphoma patients, and found the strongest link between wine consumption and favorable outcomes among patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. These patients had a 40 to 50 percent reduced risk of death, relapse or secondary cancer.

Researchers then conducted an analysis to examine the effect of wine consumption among those who had drunk wine for at least the previous 25 years before diagnosis. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients who had been drinking wine for at least this long had a 25 to 35 percent reduced risk of death, relapse or secondary cancer.

Those patients with large B-cell lymphoma had about 60 percent reduced risk of death, relapse or secondary cancer if they had been drinking wine for at least the previous 25 years before diagnosis.

"It is clear that lifestyle factors like alcohol can affect outcome," said Han.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 28,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

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