Few studies have evaluated the association between alcohol intake and the risk of the lymphoid neoplasms malignant lymphoma (ML) and plasma cell myeloma (PCM) among Asian populations. We conducted a large-scale population-based cohort study of 95,520 Japanese subjects (45,453 men and 50,067 women; age 40-69 years at baseline) with an average 13 years of follow-up, during which a total of 257 cases of ML and 89 of PCM were identified. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using a Cox regression model adjusted for potential confounders. Alcohol intake of > or = 300 g/week was associated with a significantly lower risk of lymphoid neoplasms (hazard ratio, 0.60; 95% confidence interval, 0.37-0.98) than occasional drinking at a frequency of <1 day/month, and the trend for alcohol consumption was significant (P = 0.028). A similar trend was observed for the subcategories of ML, PCM, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), albeit that the results were significant only for alcohol consumption at > or = 300 g/week in NHL patients, probably due to the small number of subjects in each category. In conclusion, we found that alcohol had an inverse association with the risk of lymphoid neoplasms, particularly the risk of NHL, among a Japanese population.