17 May 2016 In Cancer

The objective of this study was to outline the biological pathways of alcohol-attributable breast cancer, the epidemiological risk relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, and the global burden of breast cancer incidence and mortality attributable to alcohol consumption, with a focus on light drinking. First, the literature regarding the biological mechanisms of how alcohol affects the risk of breast cancer was reviewed and summarized. Second, a search of meta-analyses that evaluated the risk relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer was conducted. Last, the burden of alcohol-attributable breast cancer incidence and mortality was estimated by means of a Population-Attributable Fraction methodology. Data on alcohol consumption were obtained from the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health, and data on cancer incidence and mortality were obtained from the GLOBOCAN database. Alcohol consumption affects breast cancer risk through the alteration in hormone levels and the associated biological pathways, the metabolism of ethanol resulting in carcinogens, and the inhibition of the one carbon metabolism pathway. The systematic review found 15 meta-analyses on the risk relationship between alcohol consumption (also light consumption) and the risk of breast cancer. All but 2 of these analyses showed a dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of breast cancer. An estimated 144,000 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 88,000 to 200,000) breast cancer cases and 38,000 (95% CI: 2,400 to 53,000) breast cancer deaths globally in 2012 were attributable to alcohol, with 18.8% of these cases and 17.5% of these deaths affecting women who were light alcohol consumers. All levels of evidence showed a risk relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of breast cancer, even at low levels of consumption. Due to this strong relationship, and to the amount of alcohol consumed globally, the incidence of and mortality from alcohol-attributable breast cancer is large.

22 March 2016 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Pancreatitis is a highly prevalent medical condition associated with a spectrum of endocrine and exocrine pancreatic insufficiencies. While high alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for pancreatitis, its relationship with specific types of pancreatitis and a potential threshold have not been systematically examined.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic literature search for studies on the association between alcohol consumption and pancreatitis based on PRISMA guidelines. Non-linear and linear random-effect dose-response meta-analyses using restricted cubic spline meta-regressions and categorical meta-analyses in relation to abstainers were conducted.

FINDINGS: Seven studies with 157,026 participants and 3618 cases of pancreatitis were included into analyses. The dose-response relationship between average volume of alcohol consumption and risk of pancreatitis was monotonic with no evidence of non-linearity for chronic pancreatitis (CP) for both sexes (p = 0.091) and acute pancreatitis (AP) in men (p = 0.396); it was non-linear for AP in women (p = 0.008). Compared to abstention, there was a significant decrease in risk (RR = 0.76, 95%CI: 0.60-0.97) of AP in women below the threshold of 40 g/day. No such association was found in men (RR = 1.1, 95%CI: 0.69-1.74). The RR for CP at 100 g/day was 6.29 (95%CI: 3.04-13.02).

INTERPRETATION: The dose-response relationships between alcohol consumption and risk of pancreatitis were monotonic for CP and AP in men, and non-linear for AP in women. Alcohol consumption below 40 g/day was associated with reduced risk of AP in women. Alcohol consumption beyond this level was increasingly detrimental for any type of pancreatitis.

FUNDING: The work was financially supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R21AA023521) to the last author.

14 December 2015 In General Health

Recreational alcohol intake is a widespread activity globally and alcohol energy (7 kcal/g) can be a contributing factor to weight gain if not compensated for. Given that both excessive alcohol intake and obesity are of public health interest, the present paper provides an update on the association between alcohol consumption and body weight. In general, recent prospective studies show that light-to-moderate alcohol intake is not associated with adiposity gain while heavy drinking is more consistently related to weight gain. Experimental evidence is also mixed and suggests that moderate intake of alcohol does not lead to weight gain over short follow-up periods. However, many factors can explain the conflicting findings and a better characterization of individuals more likely to gain weight as a result of alcohol consumption is needed. In particular, individuals who frequently drink moderate amounts of alcohol may enjoy a healthier lifestyle in general that may protect them from weight gain. In conclusion, despite the important limitations of current studies, it is reasonable to say that alcohol intake may be a risk factor for obesity in some individuals, likely based on a multitude of factors, some of which are discussed herein.

16 October 2015 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption is proposed to be the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. However, alcohol consumption has been associated with both benefits and harms, and previous studies were mostly done in high-income countries. We investigated associations between alcohol consumption and outcomes in a prospective cohort of countries at different economic levels in five continents.

METHODS: We included information from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, a prospective cohort study of individuals aged 35-70 years. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to study associations with mortality (n=2723), cardiovascular disease (n=2742), myocardial infarction (n=979), stroke (n=817), alcohol-related cancer (n=764), injury (n=824), admission to hospital (n=8786), and for a composite of these outcomes (n=11 963).

FINDINGS: We included 114 970 adults, of whom 12 904 (11%) were from high-income countries (HICs), 24 408 (21%) were from upper-middle-income countries (UMICs), 48 845 (43%) were from lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), and 28 813 (25%) were from low-income countries (LICs). Median follow-up was 4.3 years (IQR 3.0-6.0). Current drinking was reported by 36 030 (31%) individuals, and was associated with reduced myocardial infarction (hazard ratio [HR] 0.76 [95% CI 0.63-0.93]), but increased alcohol-related cancers (HR 1.51 [1.22-1.89]) and injury (HR 1.29 [1.04-1.61]). High intake was associated with increased mortality (HR 1.31 [1.04-1.66]). Compared with never drinkers, we identified significantly reduced hazards for the composite outcome for current drinkers in HICs and UMICs (HR 0.84 [0.77-0.92]), but not in LMICs and LICs, for which we identified no reductions in this outcome (HR 1.07 [0.95-1.21]; pinteraction<0.0001).

INTERPRETATION: Current alcohol consumption had differing associations by clinical outcome, and differing associations by income region. However, we identified sufficient commonalities to support global health strategies and national initiatives to reduce harmful alcohol use.

FUNDING: Population Health Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, AstraZeneca (Canada), Sanofi-Aventis (France and Canada), Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany and Canada), Servier, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, King Pharma, and national or local organisations in participating countries.

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