Latest scientific news 28 October 2014

No increased risk for colon cancer with moderate drinking

A Chinese meta-analysis of prospective studies supports a J-shaped dose-risk association between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and colon cancer; however, heavy alcohol drinking is associated with an increased colon cancer mortality.

There is a widespread acceptance that consumption of alcoholic beverages and colorectal cancer (CRC) are causally related. However, the quantitative association between alcohol drinking and CRC mortality is still an open question. Chinese researchers carried out a systemic review and meta-analysis on epidemiological studies to quantify the risk for CRC mortality at different levels of drinking. Nine suitable cohort studies were identified. It was demonstrated that compared to non/occasional drinkers, the pooled relative risk was 1.03 for any, 0.97 for light (≤12.5 g/day of ethanol), 1.04 for moderate (12.6-49.9 g/day of ethanol), and 1.21 for heavy drinkers (≥50 g/day of ethanol) (a relative risk of 1.21 means a 21% increased risk compared to non-drinkers). The higher risk for heavy drinkers was only apparent for men (RR=1.28) whereas there was an inverse trend for women (RR=0.79). The dose-response analysis showed a J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and CRC mortality.

Cai S, Li Y, Ding Y, Chen K, Jin M. Alcohol drinking and the risk of colorectal cancer death: a meta-analysis. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2014 Aug 28.

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.