Breast cancer caused by red wine depends on genetic mutations

A new study shows that wine consumed in moderation may protect women from breast cancer. However, this happens only with women with a certain genetic mutation. On the other hand, women with a different mutation may have an increased risk of developing cancer because of alcohol.

The aim of the study was to validate the report from the 2007 World Cancer Research Fund which argued that there is a compelling connection between alcohol consumption and an increased rate of developing breast cancer. Previous studies also suggest that the BRCA gene mutations contribute to the increased risk of developing the disease.

BRCA genes normally function as tumor suppressor, but mutations in these genes may prove to be harmful. These mutations are hereditary and can only be detected by means of genetic screening.

The study by Jessica Dennis, researchers and students Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, argues that mutation is generally rare. However, certain ethnic groups such as Ashkenazi Jews appear to have a higher risk of developing cancer. But not all women have this genetic mutation will have breast cancer harmful, doctors warn.

The study was conducted by Jessica Dennis, a researcher and PhD student at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

A total of 857 patients with breast cancer participated in the experiment, including 10 people who had the BRCA1 genetic mutation and 33 individuals who had the BRCA2 genetic mutation. Their lifestyle was noted, including the amount of alcohol they consumed. Researchers examined the age at which women were diagnosed with breast cancer and came up with theories about how the pathology of the disease may be connected to a lifestyle that includes alcohol consumption.

The results revealed that women with the BRCA1 mutation showed a 62% lower probability of developing breast cancer than the general population, if they drank wine. On the other hand, women with the BRCA2 gene mutation had a 58% increased risk of developing the disease.