General and Cancer Mortality in a Large Cohort of Italian Alcoholics




BACKGROUND: The consumption of alcohol is an underappreciated risk factor for a wide range of conditions. Overall, it is associated with high mortality rates and causes approximately 4% of all deaths worldwide. This study aimed to evaluate the general and cancer mortality in a cohort of subjects with alcohol addiction residing in Tuscany (Central Italy).

METHODS: Overall, 2,272 alcoholics (1,467 men and 805 women; mean age at first examination 43.8 years +/- 13.0), treated at the Alcohol Centre of Florence in the period April 1985 to September 2001, were followed until the end of the study period (median follow-up: 9.6 years). A total of 21,855 person-years were available for analyses. Expected deaths were estimated by using age, sex, and calendar-specific regional mortality rates. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.

RESULTS: Six hundred and thirty-six of the 2,272 patients (28.0%) died, yielding an SMR of 5.0 (95% CI: 4.6 to 5.4). The alcoholics had significantly elevated mortality risk from all malignant cancers (SMR = 3.8, 95% CI: 3.3 to 4.4) and a series of specific diseases (infections: SMR = 10.1, 95% CI: 4.8 to 21.1; diabetes: SMR = 3.6, 95% CI: 1.9 to 6.7; immunological system, including AIDS: SMR = 8.1, 95% CI: 4.1 to 16.2; nervous system: SMR = 3.5, 95% CI: 1.9 to 6.4; cardiovascular system: SMR = 2.4, 95% CI: 2.0 to 2.9; respiratory system: SMR = 5.8, 95% CI: 4.2 to 8.0; digestive system: SMR = 26.4, 95% CI: 22.6 to 30.8, including liver cirrhosis (SMR = 40.0, 95% CI: 33.9 to 47.1); violent causes: SMR = 6.6, 95% CI: 5.0 to 8.6). Among malignant cancers, the highest SMRs were found for cancers of the pharynx (SMR = 22.8, 95% CI: 9.5 to 54.8), oral cavity (SMR = 22.2, 95% CI: 13.2 to 37.6), liver (SMR = 13.5, 95% CI: 9.2 to 19.8), and larynx (SMR = 10.7, 95% CI: 5.8 to 19.9). Although women showed higher SMR in comparison with the general population of the area, their overall survival estimates during the follow-up were higher than those for male alcoholics.

CONCLUSIONS: This large series of Italian alcoholics showed a significant increase in total and cancer mortality in comparison with the general population, with female alcoholics reporting higher survival rates.





Additional Info

  • Authors:

    Saieva,C.; Bardazzi,G.; Masala,G.; Quartini,A.; Ceroti,M.; Iozzi,A.; Gelain,E.; Querci,A.; Allamani,A.; Palli,D.

  • Issue: Alcohol Clin.Exp.Res.
  • Published Date: 2011/11/15
  • More Information:

    For more information about this absctract, please contact
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the Deutsche Weinakademie GmbH

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