06 May 2014 In Cancer
BACKGROUND: Alcohol is capable of traversing the blood-brain barrier and is thus a possible risk factor for brain cancer. Several epidemiological studies have been published on the issue, a number of those during recent years, with inconsistent findings. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a systematic literature search in the Medline and EMBASE databases. We found a total of 19 studies providing risk estimates for total alcohol or specific alcoholic beverages. Pooled estimates of the relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using random-effects models. RESULTS: The pooled RR of brain cancer for alcohol drinkers versus non-drinkers was 0.97 (95% CI 0.82-1.15; based on 12 studies). Moderate (
06 May 2014 In Cancer
BACKGROUND: There is limited evidence for an association between the pattern of lifetime alcohol use and cause-specific risk of death. METHODS: Multivariable hazard ratios were estimated for different causes of death according to patterns of lifetime alcohol consumption using a competing risks approach: 111 953 men and 268 442 women from eight countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study were included. Self-reported alcohol consumption at ages 20, 30, 40 or 50 years and at enrollment were used for the analysis; 26 411 deaths were observed during an average of 12.6 years of follow-up. RESULTS: The association between lifetime alcohol use and death from cardiovascular diseases was different from the association seen for alcohol-related cancers, digestive, respiratory, external and other causes. Heavy users (>5 drinks/day for men and >2.5 drinks/day for women), regardless of time of cessation, had a 2- to 5-times higher risk of dying due to alcohol-related cancers, compared with subjects with lifetime light use (=1 and =0.5 drink/week for men and women, respectively). Compared with lifetime light users, men who used
06 May 2014 In Cancer




The authors investigated the relation between alcohol consumption and lung cancer risk in the Environment and Genetics in Lung Cancer Etiology (EAGLE) Study, a population-based case-control study. Between 2002 and 2005, 2,100 patients with primary lung cancer were recruited from 13 hospitals within the Lombardy region of Italy and were frequency-matched on sex, area of residence, and age to 2,120 randomly selected controls. Alcohol consumption during adulthood was assessed in 1,855 cases and 2,065 controls. Data on lifetime tobacco smoking, diet, education, and anthropometric measures were collected. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for categories of mean daily ethanol intake were calculated using unconditional logistic regression. Overall, both nondrinkers (odds ratio = 1.42, 95% confidence interval: 1.03, 2.01) and very heavy drinkers (>/=60 g/day; odds ratio = 1.44, 95% confidence interval: 1.01, 2.07) were at significantly greater risk than very light drinkers (0.1-4.9 g/day). The alcohol effect was modified by smoking behavior, with no excess risk being observed in never smokers. In summary, heavy alcohol consumption was a risk factor for lung cancer among smokers in this study. Although residual confounding by tobacco smoking cannot be ruled out, this finding may reflect interplay between alcohol and smoking, emphasizing the need for preventive measures.




14 November 2012 In Drinking & Driving
A meta-analysis of 6 studies found that regular drinkers of alcoholic beverages have a reduced coronary heart disease (CHD) risk compared to abstainers while irregular drinkers have an increased risk. This investigation suggests that binge and heavy irregular drinking modify the favourable effect of alcohol intake on CHD risk.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the strength of the evidence provided by epidemiological literature investigating drinking pattern as effect modifier of alcohol intake on the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

DESIGN: Meta-analysis of observational studies.

DATA SOURCES: Medline, citation tracking, from 1966 to 2006. Review methods: Original studies investigating the amount of alcohol intake, combined with the frequency of alcohol consumption and/or pattern of alcohol drinking affecting the risk of CHD were extracted. Among them, cohort and case-control studies reporting sufficient data to perform statistical analyses and using people who abstained from alcohol as the reference were included.

RESULTS: Six (4 cohort and 2 case-control) out of 118 studies reviewed met the inclusion criteria. Compared with those who abstained from alcohol, regular heavy drinkers and heavy irregular or binge drinkers showed significantly different pooled relative risks of 0.75 (95% confidence interval 0.64 to 0.89) and 1.10 (1.03 to 1.17) respectively. The dose-response relation between the amount of alcohol intake and CHD risk was significantly different in regular and irregular drinkers. A J-shaped curve, with nadir around 28 grams of alcohol per week, and last protective dose of 131 grams per week, was obtained including drinkers who consumed alcohol for 2 days a week or less. Conversely, in people who consumed alcohol for more than 2 days a week a significant protective effect was seen even when drinking high amounts of alcohol.

CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis suggests that binge and heavy irregular drinking modify the favourable effect of alcohol intake on the CHD risk. However, this conclusion should be taken with caution because of the small number of studies considered.

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