Thursday, April 16, 2009

Drinking Wine Increases Survival for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Patients

According to a new epidemiology study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting this week, wine consumption may reduce the risk of death and relapse among non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients.

Researcher Xuesong Han, first author (Yale School of Public Health) said these findings would need to be replicated before any public health recommendations are made, but the evidence is becoming clearer that moderate consumption of wine has numerous health benefits. Han believes this is a very controversial subject, because drinking can have a negative social impact.

“It is difficult to define what is moderate and what is excessive,” said Han. “However, we are continually seeing a link between wine and positive outcomes in many cancers.”

This study was the first to examine the link among patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Han and her colleagues analyzed data about 546 women with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and found that those who drank wine had a 76 percent five-year survival compared with 68 percent for non-wine drinkers. Further research found five-year, disease-free survival was 70 percent among those who drank wine compared with 65 percent among non-wine drinkers.

Beer and/or liquor consumption did not show a benefit.

While these are small differences in percentages, they would make the difference of many, many lives if this kind of information becomes a part of our public information routine.

The study team at Yale also looked at subgroups of lymphoma patients, and found the strongest link between wine consumption and favorable outcomes among patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. These patients had a 40 to 50 percent reduced risk of death, relapse or secondary cancer.


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