Pritzker News

Pritzker Student Leads Headlining Study on Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer

Jasmine Lew presents her research at the American Association for Cancer Reserach Annual Meeting

April 17, 2008Jasmine Lew, a fourth-year student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine currently conducting research through a training fellowship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institution, is the first author on a recent study that suggests excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer. Her research has been making headlines in news outlets across the country.

As a Howard Hughes Medical Scholar, Jasmine was awarded a National Institutes of Health Research Scholarship at the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. Through this program, Jasmine and her research colleagues reviewed data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which began in 1995. They then analyzed more than 184,000 postmenopausal women, and ultimately learned that alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to metabolize estrogen. Since more than 70 percent of breast cancer tumors are classified as positive for both the estrogen and progesterone receptors, the difficulty in metabolizing estrogen increases a woman’s risk of developing a tumor.

Of their research, Jasmine notes,“This suggests that a woman should evaluate consumption of alcohol along with other known breast cancer risk factors, such as use of hormone replacement therapy.”

The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2008 Annual Meeting in San Diego earlier this month.

To learn more about this research, please visit the links below:

"Big U.S. Study Links Breast Cancer to Drinking"
Reuters, April 14, 2008

"Excessive Alcohol Drinking Can Lead To Increased Risk Of Breast Cancer, Study Suggests"
ScienceDaily, April 14, 2008

"Alcohol May Raise Breast Cancer Risk"
WebMD