16 october 2023

Cancer risk based on alcohol consumption levels: a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis

OBJECTIVES: Alcohol consumption is a well-established risk factor for cancer. Despite extensive research into the relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer risk, the effect of light alcohol consumption on cancer risk remains a topic of debate. To contribute to this discourse, we conducted a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis.

METHODS: Our systematic review aimed to investigate the associations between different levels of alcohol consumption and the risk of several cancer types. We focused on analyzing prospective associations using data from 139 cohort studies. Among them, 106 studies were included in the meta-analysis after a quantitative synthesis.

RESULTS: Our analysis did not find a significant association between light alcohol consumption and all-cause cancer risk (relative risk [RR]=1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.99-1.04), but we observed a dose-response relationship. Light alcohol consumption was significantly associated with higher risks of esophageal, colorectal, and breast cancers. Light to moderate drinking was associated with elevated risks of esophageal, colorectal, laryngeal, and breast cancers. Heavy drinking was also found to contribute to the risk of stomach, liver, pancreas, and prostate cancers, thereby increasing the risk of almost all types of cancer. Additionally, women generally had lower cancer risks compared to men.

CONCLUSION: Our findings highlight that cancer risks extend beyond heavy alcohol consumption to include light alcohol consumption as well. These findings suggest that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption associated with cancer risk. Our results underscore the importance of public health interventions addressing alcohol consumption to mitigate cancer risks.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Jun S.; Park H.; Kim U. J.; Choi E. J.; Lee H. A.; Park B.; Lee S. Y.; Jee S. H.
  • Issue

    Periodical: Epidemiol Health - Edition: 20231016
  • Published Date

    16 october 2023