New breast cancer research has revealed why the disease is linked to drinking alcohol.
According to a Mexican study, the CYP2E1 protein plays a crucial role in the process.
CYP2E1 is thought to help the body break down ethanol. The process generates unstable destructive oxygen molecules known as free radicals.
These free radicals create oxidative stress, which is linked to cancer and other health problems including heart disease and diabetes.
The latest research indicates that women with a higher level of the CYP2E1 enzyme are more likely to develop breast cancer if they drink high levels of alcohol.
The team hope that their findings will pave the way for a new test to identify individuals most at risk.
This could help health professionals to take preventative measures such as helping women who are at risk to reduce their alcohol consumption.
Professor Maria de Lourdes Rodriguez-Fragoso, from the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos, said: “If you are a woman who naturally expresses higher levels of CYP2E1 and you consume alcohol, you would be at a greater risk for developing breast cancer than a woman who expresses lower amounts of CYP2E1.”