23 November 2022 In Cancer

Obesity and alcohol consumption are both important modifiable risk factors for cancer. We examined the joint association of adiposity and alcohol consumption with alcohol- and obesity-related cancer incidence. This prospective cohort study included cancer-free UK Biobank participants aged 40-69 years. Alcohol consumption was categorised based on current UK guidelines into four groups. We defined three markers of adiposity: body fat percentage (BF %), waist circumference and BMI and categorised each into three groups. We derived a joint alcohol consumption and adiposity marker variable with twelve mutually exclusive categories. Among 399 575 participants, 17 617 developed alcohol-related cancer and 20 214 developed obesity-related cancer over an average follow-up of 11.8 (SD 0.9) years. We found relatively weak evidence of independent associations of alcohol consumption with cancer outcomes. However, the joint association analyses showed that across all adiposity markers, above guideline drinkers who were in the top two adiposity groups had elevated cancer incidence risk (e.g. HR for alcohol-related cancer was 1.53 (95 % CI (1.24, 1.90)) for within guideline drinkers and 1.61 (95 % CI (1.30, 2.00)) for above guideline drinkers among participants who were in the top tertile BF %. Regardless of alcohol consumption status, the risk of obesity-related cancer increased with higher adiposity in a dose-response manner within alcohol consumption categories. Our study provides guidance for public health priorities aimed at lowering population cancer risk via two key modifiable risk factors.

26 August 2022 In Cancer

It is known that the intake of alcoholic beverages may impair genetic and epigenetic regulatory events with consequent crucial effects on cell phenotypes and that its association with selected genotypes can lead to a different risk of cancer in the population.

The aim of this review is to pick up selected studies on this topic and recapitulate some of the biochemical and nutrigenetic/nutrigenomic aspects involved in the impact of dietary low-dose alcohol consumption on the switching-on or -off of tumorigenic pathways. These include i) the existence of predisposing or protective human genotypes and the relationship between dietary compounds and alcohol in the promotion or inhibition of carcinogenesis; ii) the effects of other components of alcoholic drinks in the modulation of the expression of oncogenes and oncosuppressors, the autophagic flux and the onset of apoptosis, with examples of their cytospecificity; and iii) the role of alcoholic beverage consumption within particular dietary regimens, including the Mediterranean diet.

Taking all the data into account, several alcohol-associated bioactive dietary compounds appear capable to modulate peculiar intracellular pathways predisposing to or protecting from cancer. Advances in the nutrigenetic, nutrigenomic and nutriepigenetic knowledge complementing the biochemical and molecular approaches will help in unveiling their impact on health outcome.

23 February 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Wine consumption has a particular place in the culture of many European countries, and beliefs that wine offers health benefits are widespread. High consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages among many Europeans correlates with alcohol-related accidents and disease burdens. Health warning labels (HWLs) on alcohol containers have been increasingly recommended to deter consumers from drinking. However, findings on the impact of HWLs on consumers' behavior have been mixed. Moreover, many European consumers have been found to reject the use of warning labels as a policy intervention, especially for wine, perhaps due to its cultural and economic importance.

METHODS: An online study with a between-subjects design was conducted in Switzerland (N = 506) to assess whether HWLs can influence the perceived risk associated with drinking wine and vodka, a beverage insignificant to Swiss culture. Participants were presented an image of either a wine or vodka bottle with or without an HWL presenting a liver cancer warning statement. They were then asked to indicate their perceived risk of regularly consuming the depicted beverage. Acceptance and rejection of HWLs were also assessed.

RESULTS: The perceived risk of vodka consumption exceeded the corresponding risk for wine but was unaffected by an HWL. Perceived health benefits were the main, negative predictor of perceived consumption risk. Participants mainly rejected HWLs due to their perceived effectiveness, perceived positive health effects, social norms, and individualistic values.

CONCLUSIONS: Perceived risk is an important determinant of drinking behavior, and our results suggest that HWLs may be unable to alter risk perceptions. Furthermore, a strong belief in the health benefits of alcohol consumption, particularly wine consumption, reduce risk perceptions and may be unaffected by HWLs.

23 February 2022 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Heavy alcohol use is associated with increased risk of alcohol-related health consequences. Alcohol consumption has increased in females in the last fifteen years and females are more likely to experience exacerbated health risks due to drinking. Our group identified that females with AUD were more likely to report respiratory conditions or cancers compared to their male counterparts. This analysis sought to further examine relationships between sex and alcohol use on medical conditions by using the new 2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines risk drinking levels.

METHODS: Data from the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC-III; n = 36,309) was used to evaluate associations between sex (female vs. male) and alcohol risk drinking levels (abstainer, binge, heavy, extreme binge vs. moderate drinking) on past year self-reported doctor-confirmed medical conditions).

RESULTS: Females were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to have pain, respiratory, or other medical conditions in the past year (odds ratio [OR]=1.46–2.11) vs. males. Significant interactions demonstrated that heavy drinking females or extreme binge drinking females were 2 to 3 times more likely to have cancers or other conditions (OR=1.95–2.69) vs. males at the same risk drinking level. Female abstainers were more likely than male abstainers to have other medical conditions (OR=1.77).

CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with our previous findings, results identify that higher risk drinking levels are associated with the presence of past year self-reported doctor-confirmed medical conditions spanning organ systems, particularly in females. Treatment for high-risk drinking should be considered in the clinical care of individuals with significant medical conditions.

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