Intake of alcohol may modify the risk for non-melanoma skin cancer: results of a large Danish prospective cohort study

J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Dec;132(12):2718-26. doi: 10.1038/jid.2012.198. Epub 2012 Jun 14.


Alcohol has not been linked definitively to non-melanoma skin cancer. We examined whether alcohol intake affects the risks for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) using data on 54,766 persons enrolled in the prospective Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort. Statistical analyses were based on the Cox proportional hazards model. All hazard ratios (HRs) were multivariate adjusted. Adjustment for exposure to UVR was not possible, but all analyses were adjusted for factors related to susceptibility to UVR, including sun sensitivity, degree of freckling, and number of nevi. A total of 2,409 BCC cases and 198 SCC cases were diagnosed within a median follow-up of 11.4 years. Total current alcohol intake was not associated with BCC risk, but beverage-specific analyses showed an increased BCC risk associated with intake of wine (HR=1.05, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-1.08, current average alcohol intake, per 10 g per day) and spirits (HR=1.11, 95% CI: 1.02-1.21) and a decreased risk with beer (HR=0.97, 95% CI: 0.93-1.00). No convincing associations were found between total alcohol intake and risk for SCC, perhaps because of the limited number of cases. Our findings indicate that alcohol intake may increase the risk for BCC, but the relations seemed to depend on beverage type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Beer / statistics & numerical data
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Melanosis / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nevus / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Wine / statistics & numerical data