Introduction: Epidemiological studies have shown that moderate alcohol drinkers have a lower death rate for all causes. Alcohol drinking has also been associated with reduced risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Here, we examined the role of alcohol consumption on NHL survival by type of alcohol consumed and NHL subtype.
Methods: A cohort of 575 female NHL incident cases diagnosed during 1996-2000 in Connecticut was followed-up for a median of 7.75 years. Demographic, clinical, and lifestyle information was collected at diagnosis. Survival analyses were conducted with Kaplan-Meier methods, and hazard ratios (HR) were estimated from Cox Proportional Hazards models.
Results: Compared to never drinkers, wine drinkers experienced better overall survival (75% vs. 69% five-year survival rates, p-value for log-rank test = 0.030) and better disease free survival (70% vs. 67% five-year disease-free survival rates, p-value for log-rank test = 0.049). Analysis by NHL subtype shows that the favorable effect of wine consumption was mainly seen for patients diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) (wine drinkers for more than 25 years vs. never drinkers: HR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.14-0.94 for overall survival; HR = 0.38, 95% CI 0.16-0.94 for disease-free survival), and the adverse effect of liquor consumption was also observed among DLBCL patients (liquor drinkers vs. never drinkers: HR=2.49, 95% CI 1.26-4.93 for disease-free survival).
Conclusions: Our results suggest a moderate relationship between pre-diagnostic alcohol consumption and NHL survival, particularly for DLBCL. The results need to be replicated in larger studies.
Implications for cancer survivors: Pre-diagnostic behaviors might impact the prognosis and survival of NHL patients.