26 April 2017 In Cancer

Humans are cumulatively exposed to acetaldehyde from various sources including alcoholic beverages, tobacco smoke, foods and beverages. The genetic-epidemiologic and biochemical evidence in ALDH2-deficient humans provides strong evidence for the causal relationship between acetaldehyde-exposure due to alcohol consumption and cancer of the upper digestive tract. The risk assessment has so far relied on thresholds based on animal toxicology with lower one-sided confidence limit of the benchmark dose values (BMDL) typically ranging between 11 and 63 mg/kg bodyweight (bw)/day dependent on species and endpoint. The animal data is problematic for regulatory toxicology for various reasons (lack in study quality, problems in animal models and appropriateness of endpoints - especially cancer - for transfer to humans). In this study, data from genetic epidemiologic and biochemical studies are reviewed. The increase in the daily exposure dose to acetaldehyde in alcohol-consuming ALDH2-deficients vs. ALDH2-actives was about twofold. The acetaldehyde increase due to ALDH2 inactivity was calculated to be 6.7 mug/kg bw/day for heavy drinkers, which is associated with odds ratios of up to 7 for head and neck as well as oesophageal cancer. Previous animal toxicology based risk assessments may have underestimated the risk of acetaldehyde. Risk assessments of acetaldehyde need to be revised using this updated evidence.

27 February 2017 In Cancer

It is not clear whether alcohol consumption is associated with lung cancer risk. The relationship is likely confounded by smoking, complicating the interpretation of previous studies. We examined the association of alcohol consumption and lung cancer risk in a large pooled international sample, minimizing potential confounding of tobacco consumption by restricting analyses to never smokers. Our study included 22 case-control and cohort studies with a total of 2548 never-smoking lung cancer patients and 9362 never-smoking controls from North America, Europe and Asia within the International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO) and SYNERGY Consortium. Alcohol consumption was categorized into amounts consumed (grams per day) and also modelled as a continuous variable using restricted cubic splines for potential non-linearity. Analyses by histologic sub-type were included. Associations by type of alcohol consumed (wine, beer and liquor) were also investigated. Alcohol consumption was inversely associated with lung cancer risk with evidence most strongly supporting lower risk for light and moderate drinkers relative to non-drinkers (>0-4.9g per day: OR=0.80, 95% CI=0.70-0.90; 5-9.9g per day: OR=0.82, 95% CI=0.69-0.99; 10-19.9g per day: OR=0.79, 95% CI=0.65-0.96). Inverse associations were found for consumption of wine and liquor, but not beer. The results indicate that alcohol consumption is inversely associated with lung cancer risk, particularly among subjects with low to moderate consumption levels, and among wine and liquor drinkers, but not beer drinkers. Although our results should have no relevant bias from the confounding effect of smoking we cannot preclude that confounding by other factors contributed to the observed associations. Confounding in relation to the non-drinker reference category may be of particular importance.

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27 February 2017 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption and some other dietary habits are thought to be associated with lung cancer incidence. However, the effects of these habits on lung cancer prognosis have been studied rarely. The purpose of this study was to address these gaps in knowledge.

METHODS: We studied a cohort of 1052 Chinese men in Hong Kong who were diagnosed with primary lung cancer. Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine the prognostic values of consumption of alcohol, fresh fruits or vegetables, meat, and fried or preserved food.

RESULTS: Compared with never drinkers, men who drank alcohol 1-3 days per week had a more favorable lung cancer prognosis (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.68-0.97); however, this survival advantage was not significant in men who drank alcohol more frequently (HR: 0.91, 95% CI 0.73-1.14). Compared with men who consumed preserved or fried food only occasionally, men who consumed these foods frequently had a higher risk of lung cancer mortality (HR: 1.20, 95% CI 1.00-1.42).

CONCLUSIONS: Occasional consumption of alcohol was a favorable survival factor for Chinese men with lung cancer. However, this survival benefit did not exist for frequent drinkers of alcohol. Chinese men with lung cancer who were frequent consumers of fried or preserved food had a worse prognosis than those who consumed these foods only occasionally.

01 February 2017 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Background and aims The 2011 UN Summit on Non-Communicable Disease failed to call for global action on alcohol marketing despite calls in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan on Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-20 to restrict or ban alcohol advertising. In this paper we ask what it might take to match the global approach to tobacco enshrined in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and suggest that public health advocates can learn from the development of the FCTC and the Code of Marketing on infant formula milks and the recent recommendations on restricting food marketing to children.

Methods Narrative review of qualitative accounts of the processes that created and monitor existing codes and treaties to restrict the marketing of consumer products, specifically breast milk substitutes, unhealthy foods and tobacco.

Findings The development of treaties and codes for market restrictions include: (i) evidence of a public health crisis; (ii) the cost of inaction; (iii) civil society advocacy; (iv) the building of capacity; (v) the management of conflicting interests in policy development; and (vi) the need to consider monitoring and accountability to ensure compliance.

Conclusion International public health treaties and codes provide an umbrella under which national governments can strengthen their own legislation, assisted by technical support from international agencies and non-governmental organizations. Three examples of international agreements, those for breast milk substitutes, unhealthy foods and tobacco, can provide lessons for the public health community to make progress on alcohol controls. Lessons include stronger alliances of advocates and health professionals and better tools and capacity to monitor and report current marketing practices and trends.

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