Alcohol and Breast Cancer: The Mechanisms Explained

Hassen Al-Sader, Hani Abdul-Jabar, Zahra Allawi, Yasser Haba


Breast cancer is a leading cause of death amongst women, several studies have shown significant association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. The aim of this overview is to highlight some of the mechanisms by which alcohol consumption could increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Using online Medline search engine, article containing details about mechanisms which explain the link between alcohol and breast cancer were examined. A number of mechanisms were found by which alcohol could increase the risk of breast cancer, alcohol's interaction and effect on oestrogen secretion; number of oestrogen receptors; the generation of acetaldehyde and hydroxyl free radicals; cells migration and metastasis; secretion of IGF1 and interaction with HRT and folate metabolism. In conclusion, it is essential for clinicians to understand these mechanisms and inform patients of the link between alcohol and breast cancer.

Publish ahead of Print July 13, 2009


Breast cancer; Alcohol; Mechanisms

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