september 2012

Alcohol consumption and digestive tract cancer

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The data indicating that alcohol is an important factor increasing the risk to develop gastrointestinal cancer are consolidating. The purpose of this review is to summarize current evidence.

RECENT FINDINGS: Acetaldehyde is the first metabolite of ethanol metabolism and has direct carcinogenic and mutagenic effects by modifying DNA via generation of DNA adducts. Oxidative stress has a prominent role in triggering chronic inflammation and carcinogenesis through formation of reactive oxygen species. Recently published large prospective cohort studies with sufficient statistical power and meta-analyses could refine the knowledge regarding the impact of alcohol on gastrointestinal cancer. Functional genetic variants of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes proved to be associated with increased risk for esophageal and gastric cancer.The highest risk increase for malignancy was observed in the upper aerodigestive tract (oral cavity, pharynx, larynx) and esophagus (squamous cell carcinoma), weaker correlations were established regarding gastric, pancreatic, and colorectal neoplasias.

SUMMARY: Alcohol overconsumption is a serious avoidable risk factor for the development of gastrointestinal tract cancer, both alone but even more in combination with other risk factors such as tobacco and obesity.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Haas S.L.; Ye W.; Lohr J.M.
  • Issue

    Curr.Opin.Clin.Nutr.Metab Care / pages 457-467 / volume 15
  • Published Date

    september 2012