15 December 2016 In Liver Disease

The susceptibility to developing alcohol dependence and significant alcohol-related liver injury is determined by a number of constitutional, environmental and genetic factors, although the nature and level of interplay between them remains unclear. The familiality and heritability of alcohol dependence is well-documented but, to date, no strong candidate genes conferring increased risk have emerged, although variants in alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase have been shown to confer protection, predominantly in individuals of East Asian ancestry. Population contamination with confounders such as drug co-dependence and psychiatric and physical co-morbidity may explain the essentially negative genome-wide association studies in this disorder. The familiality and hereditability of alcohol-related cirrhosis is not as well-documented but three strong candidate genes PNPLA3, TM6SF2 and MBOAT7, have been identified. The mechanisms by which variants in these genes confer risk and the nature of the functional interplay between them remains to be determined but, when elucidated, will undoubtedly increase our understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease. The way in which this genetic information could potentially inform patient management has yet to be determined and tested.

21 September 2016 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer aetiology may differ by estrogen receptor (ER) status. Associations of alcohol and folate intakes with risk of breast cancer defined by ER status were examined in pooled analyses of the primary data from 20 cohorts.

METHODS: During a maximum of 6-18 years of follow-up of 1 089 273 women, 21 624 ER+ and 5113 ER- breast cancers were identified. Study-specific multivariable relative risks (RRs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression models and then combined using a random-effects model.

RESULTS: Alcohol consumption was positively associated with risk of ER+ and ER- breast cancer. The pooled multivariable RRs (95% confidence intervals) comparing >/= 30 g/d with 0 g/day of alcohol consumption were 1.35 (1.23-1.48) for ER+ and 1.28 (1.10-1.49) for ER- breast cancer (Ptrend /= 0.26). Dietary (from foods only) and total folate intakes were not associated with risk of overall, ER+ and ER- breast cancer; pooled multivariable RRs ranged from 0.98 to 1.02 comparing extreme quintiles. Following-up US studies through only the period before mandatory folic acid fortification did not change the results. The alcohol and folate associations did not vary by tumour subtypes defined by progesterone receptor status.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption was positively associated with risk of both ER+ and ER- breast cancer, even among women with high folate intake. Folate intake was not associated with breast cancer risk.

17 May 2016 In General Health

IMPORTANCE: Excess alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are associated with substantially increased mortality. Efforts to reduce this toll require an understanding of their causes.

OBJECTIVE: To clarify the degree to which the excess mortality associated with AUDs arises (1) from the predispositions of the person who develops AUD (and which would likely be shared by close relatives) and (2) as a direct result of AUD itself.

DESIGN, SETTING, and PARTICIPANTS: A prospective cohort and co-relative design study involving all individuals born in Sweden from 1940 to 1965 who had neither died nor migrated prior to 1973 or age 15 years (N = 2821036). They were followed up from January 1, 1973, until December 31, 2010. Alcohol use disorder was assessed from medical, criminal, and pharmacy registries. Half-siblings, full-siblings, and monozygotic twin pairs discordant for AUD were obtained from the Multi-Generation and Twin Register.

MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURE: Death obtained from the Swedish Death registry.

RESULTS: Our cohort (1447887 males and 1373149 females) included 131895 males and 42163 females registered with AUD. The mean (SD) age at first AUD registration was 39 (13.4) years. We ascertained 127347 and 76325 deaths in the male and female subsamples, respectively. Controlling for sex, educational status, and year of birth, the mortality hazard ratio associated with AUD was 5.83 (95% CI, 5.76-5.90) and varied-with an inverted U-shaped function-by age. Examining the AUD-mortality association in the general population and in relative pairs discordant for AUD exposure demonstrated substantial familial confounding in early to mid-adulthood: the AUD-associated mortality hazard ratio was much lower in discordant close relatives than in the general population. In middle to late adulthood, evidence for familial confounding decreased with increasing evidence for a direct effect of AUD on elevated mortality. In the oldest age group (65-70 years), the mortality hazard ratios were similar across the population and all relative pairs, suggesting that the excess mortality was largely a result of having AUD. Adding years since onset of AUD to the model showed that both increasing age and increasing years of duration of AUD contributed to the reduction of familial confounding in the association between AUD and elevated mortality.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Excess mortality associated with AUD arises both from the predispositions of the person who develops AUD and the direct result of having AUD. The effect of predisposition is more prominent early in the life course and in the early years of AUD. The direct effect of AUD becomes progressively more important later in life and with longer duration of AUD. These results have implications for interventions seeking to reduce the elevated AUD-associated mortality.

22 March 2016 In Cancer

Although alcohol intake is an established risk factor for overall breast cancer, few studies have looked at the relationship between alcohol use and breast cancer risk by the four major subtypes of breast cancer and very few data exist in the alcohol-breast cancer relationship in Spanish women. A population-based case-control study was conducted in Galicia, Spain. A total of 1766 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1997 and 2014 and 833 controls participated in the study. Data on demographics, breast cancer risk factors, and clinico-pathological characteristics were collected. We examined the alcohol-breast cancer association according to the major breast cancer subtypes [hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative (luminal A); hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-positive (luminal B); hormone-receptor-negative, HER2-negative (TNBC); and hormone-receptor-negative, HER2-positive (HER2 overexpressing)] as well as grade and morphology in Spanish women. With the exception of HER2 overexpressing, the risk of all subtypes of breast cancer significantly increased with increasing alcohol intake. The association was similar for hormonal receptor positive breast cancer, i.e., luminal A and luminal B breast cancer (odds ratio, OR 2.16, 95 % confidence interval, CI 1.55-3.02; and OR 1.98, 95 % CI 1.11-3.53, respectively), and for TNBC (TNBC: OR 1.93, 95 % CI 1.07-3.47). The alcohol-breast cancer association was slightly more pronounced among lobular breast cancer (OR 2.76, 95 % CI 1.62-4.69) than among ductal type breast cancers (OR 2.21, 95 % CI 1.61-3.03). In addition, significant associations were shown for all grades, I, II and III breast cancer (OR 1.98, 95 % CI 1.26-3.10; OR 2.34, 95 % CI 1.66-3.31; and OR 2.16, 95 % CI 1.44-3.25 for Grades I, II and III, respectively). To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the association of breast cancer subtypes and alcohol intake in Spanish women. Our findings indicate that breast cancer risk increased with increasing alcohol intakes for three out of the four major subtypes of breast cancer. The association was similar for hormonal receptor positive breast cancer, i.e., luminal A and luminal B breast cancer, and for TNBC. The association seemed to be slightly more pronounced for lobular than ductal breast cancers. No differences were detected by grade.

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