26 April 2017 In Cancer

The occurrence of more than 200 diseases, including cancer, can be attributed to alcohol drinking. The global cancer deaths attributed to alcohol-consumption rose from 243,000 in 1990 to 337,400 in 2010. In 2010, cancer deaths due to alcohol consumption accounted for 4.2% of all cancer deaths. Strong epidemiological evidence has established the causal role of alcohol in the development of various cancers, including esophageal cancer, head and neck cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. The evidence for the association between alcohol and other cancers is inconclusive. Because of the high prevalence of ALDH2*2 allele among East Asian populations, East Asians may be more susceptible to the carcinogenic effect of alcohol, with most evidence coming from studies of esophageal cancer and head and neck cancer, while data for other cancers are more limited. The high prevalence of ALDH2*2 allele in East Asian populations may have important public health implications and may be utilized to reduce the occurrence of alcohol-related cancers among East Asians, including: 1) Identification of individuals at high risk of developing alcohol-related cancers by screening for ALDH2 polymorphism; 2) Incorporation of ALDH2 polymorphism screening into behavioral intervention program for promoting alcohol abstinence or reducing alcohol consumption; 3) Using ALDH2 polymorphism as a prognostic indicator for alcohol-related cancers; 4) Targeting ALDH2 for chemoprevention; and 5) Setting guidelines for alcohol consumption among ALDH2 deficient individuals. Future studies should evaluate whether these strategies are effective for preventing the occurrence of alcohol-related cancers.

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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01 February 2017 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: Previous epidemiological studies suggest that patients diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) who drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol (up to ~30 g per day) have less severe histological lesions compared with nondrinkers. However, while the cross-sectional nature of current evidence precludes assessment of causality, cumulative lifetime-exposure of moderate alcohol consumption on histological outcomes has never been evaluated.

AIM: To overcome these limitations, a Mendelian randomisation study was performed using a validated genetic variant (rs1229984 A;G) in the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1B) gene as a proxy of long-term alcohol exposure.

METHODS: We first assessed whether the instrumental variant (rs1229984) was associated with the amount of alcohol consumption in our cohort. We further explored the association between the variant and histological outcomes; a sample of 466 individuals, including 266 patients with NAFLD confirmed by liver biopsy, was studied.

RESULTS: We found that carriers of the A-allele consumed significantly lower amounts of alcohol compared with noncarriers (2.3 +/- 5.3 vs. 8.18 +/- 21 g per day, mean +/- s.d., P = 0.03). The analysis of association with the disease severity showed that carriers of the A-allele had lower degree of histological steatosis (1.76 +/- 0.83 vs. 2.19 +/- 0.78, P = 0.03) and lower scores of lobular inflammation (0.54 +/- 0.65 vs. 0.95 +/- 0.92, P = 0.02) and NAFLD-Activity Score (2.9 +/- 1.4 vs. 3.7 +/- 1.4, P = 0.015) compared with noncarriers.

CONCLUSION: Mendelian randomisation analysis suggests no beneficial effect of moderate alcohol consumption on NAFLD disease severity.

01 February 2017 In Cancer

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many genetic susceptibility loci for colorectal cancer (CRC). However, variants in these loci explain only a small proportion of familial aggregation, and there are likely additional variants that are associated with CRC susceptibility. Genome-wide studies of gene-environment interactions may identify variants that are not detected in GWAS of marginal gene effects. To study this, we conducted a genome-wide analysis for interaction between genetic variants and alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking using data from the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR) and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO). Interactions were tested using logistic regression. We identified interaction between CRC risk and alcohol consumption and variants in the 9q22.32/HIATL1 (Pinteraction = 1.76x10-8; permuted p-value 3.51x10-8) region. Compared to non-/occasional drinking light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer among individuals with rs9409565 CT genotype (OR, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.74-0.91]; P = 2.1x10-4) and TT genotypes (OR,0.62 [95% CI, 0.51-0.75]; P = 1.3x10-6) but not associated among those with the CC genotype (p = 0.059). No genome-wide statistically significant interactions were observed for smoking. If replicated our suggestive finding of a genome-wide significant interaction between genetic variants and alcohol consumption might contribute to understanding colorectal cancer etiology and identifying subpopulations with differential susceptibility to the effect of alcohol on CRC risk.

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