Latest scientific news 18 August 2023

Does obesity influence alcohol-related cancer risk?

There is overwhelming evidence that lifestyle risk factors impact cancer risk and especially among the most prevalent cancers, more than half may be preventable through lifestyle changes. Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages and adiposity/obesity are some of the key modifiable risk factors.

Researchers analysed the UK Biobank data to examine how alcohol and obesity (adiposity) jointly influence cancer risk.

The researchers found a relatively weak evidence of independent associations of alcohol consumption with cancer. However, regardless of the alcohol consumption, higher levels of obesity were linked to an increased risk of obesity-related cancer. They concluded that their study adds important evidence to understand the joint role of obesity and alcohol consumption in the cancer risk.

(*) Definitions:

Alcohol consumption

  • never drinkers
  • previous drinkers
  • within UK drinking guidelines (≤ 112 g of alcohol/week)
  • above UK drinking guidelines (≥ 112 g of alcohol/week)

Adiposity measurements:

  • Body fat percentage
  • Waist circumference
  • Body mass index (BMI)
ReferenceDoes obesity influence alcohol-related cancer risk?


Inan-Eroglu E, Huang BH, Sarich P, Nassar N, Stamatakis E. Joint association of alcohol consumption and adiposity with alcohol- and obesity-related cancer in a population sample of 399,575 UK adults. Br J Nutr. 2023 Aug 14;130(3):503-512. doi: 10.1017/S0007114522003464. Epub 2022 Oct 21.