How do his findings that the resveratrol in wine protected against prostate cancer -- at least in animals -- square with the new findings that neither red nor white wine seem protective against breast cancer in women? At least at first glance, "the alcohol is obviously a more potent carcinogen than resveratrol is protective against cancer," Lamartiniere said.
But, he said, "different red wines have different potencies of resveratrol. Cabernet sauvignon has the highest." What isn't clear, he added, is how much resveratrol was in the red wine typically consumed by the women in the Kaiser study.
So, what's the best advice for women interested in minimizing their breast cancer risk? "Modest consumption of anything is the way to go," Lamartiniere said.
Li emphasized that alcohol consumption is just one of the factors that could raise breast cancer risk. To reduce overall breast cancer risk, she advises women to follow a healthy lifestyle by eating a good diet, exercising, not smoking and not drinking heavily.
To learn more about breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Yan Li, M.D., oncologist, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif; Coral Lamartiniere, Ph.D., professor, pharmacology and toxicology, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Sept. 27, 2007, presentation, European Cancer Conference, Barcelona, Spain