April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma who drank wine before their diagnosis appeared to have a reduced risk of relapse or death, according to a study that's the first to identify this connection.
The researchers looked at more than 500 women with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and found that, overall, those who drank wine before their diagnosis had a 76 percent five-year survival rate, compared with 68 percent for those who didn't drink wine. The five-year, disease-free survival rate was 70 percent for wine drinkers and 65 percent for non-wine drinkers.
Further analysis by the Yale School of Public Health team revealed that patients who drank wine for at least 25 years before their diagnosis had a 25 percent to 35 percent reduced risk of relapse, secondary cancer or death.
The strongest link between wine consumption and improved outcomes was among patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Overall, they had a 40 percent to 50 percent reduced risk of relapse, secondary cancer or death, while those who drank wine for 25 years or more had about a 60 percent reduced risk.
Drinking beer or liquor had no beneficial effect, according to the researchers, who were to present the findings Tuesday at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting, in Denver.
The findings need to be replicated before any public health recommendations are made, but the study offers further evidence that moderate consumption of wine has health benefits, wrote first author and doctoral candidate Xuesong Han.
"This conclusion is controversial, because excessive drinking has a negative social and health impact, and it is difficult to define what is moderate and what is excessive. However, we are continually seeing a link between wine and positive outcomes in many cancers," Han said in an AACR news release.
SOURCE: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, April 21, 2009