In a cross-sectional study of 115 premenopausal non-smoking women, we examined the relationship between lymphocyte levels of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodGuo) and habitual alcohol consumption. The study was conducted in four different regions of Europe, including Potsdam (Germany), Turin (Italy), Malmo (Sweden) and Granada (Spain). Mean 8-oxodGuo levels differed significantly across study centres (P = 0.001), with the highest levels in Granada 2.17 8-oxodGuox10(-6) 2'-deoxyguanosine (95% confidence interval 1.27-4.40) and lowest levels in Turin 1.19 (0.36-4.29). Mean levels of total alcohol intake and of types of alcoholic beverages consumed (wine, fortified wines, beer and cider) also differed across the study centres (P < 0.05), with the highest total alcohol consumption in Turin, and the lowest intake in GRANADA: When combining all the data, but adjusting for study centre, individual 8-oxodGuo level correlated inversely with alcohol intake. This inverse association remained unaltered after further adjustment for Quetelet Index, fruit and vegetable consumption, and plasma carotenoid levels. Furthermore, the inverse association was also observed for each of the study centres separately, and for different beverage types, with the exception of Granada, where the majority of women were non-drinkers and where alcohol intakes were also very low for the consumers. Finally, on a group level, mean levels of 8-oxodGuo and alcohol intake were also inversely associated between the four study centres. The finding of a relationship between alcohol consumption and 8-oxodGuo in lymphocytes was unexpected and not based on a prior hypothesis. This finding consequently requires confirmation from a randomized intervention study.