The relation between alcoholic beverage consumption and bladder cancer risk was investigated using data from a case-control study conducted between 1985 and 1992 in two areas of northern Italy. Cases were 727 patients with incident, histologically confirmed bladder cancer, and controls 1,067 patients admitted to the same network of hospitals for acute, non-neoplastic, nonurologic, or genital tract diseases. Compared to nondrinkers, the odds ratio (OR) was 0.79 (95% confidence interval, CI, 0.58-1.08) for drinkers, and 0.84 (95%CI, 0.58-1.22) for > or =6 drinks/day. The OR was 0.86 (95%CI, 0.60-1.23) for > or =5 wine drinks/day, 0.69 for beer, and 0.85 for spirits. No trend was observed with duration (OR =1.00 for > or =40 years). ORs were consistent across various strata of covariates including age, sex, and smoking habits. Our study, based on a population with high alcohol (mainly wine) intake, found no association between bladder cancer risk and alcohol intake, even at high levels of consumption.