PURPOSE: To estimate the Australian cancer burden attributable to lifestyle-related risk factors and their combinations using a novel population attributable fraction (PAF) method that accounts for competing risk of death, risk factor interdependence and statistical uncertainty.

PARTICIPANTS: 365 173 adults from seven Australian cohort studies. We linked pooled harmonised individual participant cohort data with population-based cancer and death registries to estimate exposure-cancer and exposure-death associations. Current Australian exposure prevalence was estimated from representative external sources. To illustrate the utility of the new PAF method, we calculated fractions of cancers causally related to body fatness or both tobacco and alcohol consumption avoidable in the next 10 years by risk factor modifications, comparing them with fractions produced by traditional PAF methods.

FINDINGS TO DATE: Over 10 years of follow-up, we observed 27 483 incident cancers and 22 078 deaths. Of cancers related to body fatness (n=9258), 13% (95% CI 11% to 16%) could be avoided if those currently overweight or obese had body mass index of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2. Of cancers causally related to both tobacco and alcohol (n=4283), current or former smoking explains 13% (11% to 16%) and consuming more than two alcoholic drinks per day explains 6% (5% to 8%). The two factors combined explain 16% (13% to 19%): 26% (21% to 30%) in men and 8% (4% to 11%) in women. Corresponding estimates using the traditional PAF method were 20%, 31% and 10%. Our PAF estimates translate to 74 000 avoidable body fatness-related cancers and 40 000 avoidable tobacco- and alcohol-related cancers in Australia over the next 10 years (2017-2026). Traditional PAF methods not accounting for competing risk of death and interdependence of risk factors may overestimate PAFs and avoidable cancers.

FUTURE PLANS: We will rank the most important causal factors and their combinations for a spectrum of cancers and inform cancer control activities.

Published in Cancer

BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence. Nevertheless, whether the drinking pattern is associated with CHD incidence still remains inconclusive.

METHODS: We included 8,469 Chinese men aged 45-81 years, who were free of CHD, stroke, or cancer at baseline from Dongfeng-Tongji cohort. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on alcohol consumption and other covariates. Cox proportional hazard regression model was applied to estimate the multivariable-adjusted hazard rations (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).

RESULTS: During an average of 4.36 years of follow-up, we identified 959 incident CHD events. Compared with non-drinkers, the multivariable-adjusted HR (95% CI) of CHD incidence was 0.84 (0.71-0.98) in current drinkers. With respect to drinking pattern, men who consumed 20.01-40 grams ethanol once a time had a 24% lower risk of incident CHD (HR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.62, 0.94) compared with non-drinkers. The adjusted HRs (95% CI) of CHD incidence were 0.80 (0.65, 0.99), 1.02 (0.84, 1.22), and 0.75 (0.59-0.96) in subjects who consumed 0.01-10, 10.01-30, and > 30 grams ethanol per day, respectively. Participants who consumed 20.01-40 grams ethanol per time with less than 5 times per week had the lowest risk of CHD incidence (HR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.52, 0.96). No significant associations were observed between type or frequency of alcohol consumption and CHD incidence.

CONCLUSIONS: Drinking was associated with a lower risk of CHD incidence in middle-aged and older Chinese men and moderate quantity of ethanol amounts once a time with lower frequency could been considered as a healthy drinking pattern, which might modify the relationship between alcohol consumption and incident CHD.

Published in Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Several studies have found that moderate alcohol intake is associated with lower risk of functional limitations in older adults. However, no previous investigation has assessed this association in older adults from Mediterranean countries, who show characteristic drinking patterns.

METHODS: Data were taken from the UAM and the Seniors-ENRICA cohorts in Spain, comprising community-dwelling people aged >/=60 years. At baseline, participants in both cohorts were classified as non-drinkers, ex-drinkers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers (the threshold between moderate and heavy intake was >/=40 g/day in men and >/=24 g/day in women). The Seniors-ENRICA cohort allowed assessment of a Mediterranean Drinking Pattern (MDP), defined as moderate alcohol intake, with wine preference (>/=80% of alcohol consumed as wine) and drinking only with meals. The incidence of limitation in mobility, agility, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) was ascertained in each cohort at the end of a 3.5-year follow-up. Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, education, lifestyle, BMI, chronic conditions, and functional limitations at baseline others than the studied limitation.

RESULTS: Compared with non-drinkers, ex-drinkers showed a higher risk of IADL limitation (pooled adjusted odds ratio [paOR]: 1.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04-2.21). By contrast, moderate drinkers had a lower risk of limitations in mobility (paOR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.63-0.97), agility (paOR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.65-0.99) and IADL (paOR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.39-0.69). Among individuals reporting poor or fair health, the MDP was associated with lower risk of mobility limitation (aOR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.27-0.97).

CONCLUSION: In older adults, moderate alcohol consumption, as well as the MDP in specific subgroups, is associated with lower risk of functional limitation. These results should not serve to promote alcohol intake, because older adults are particularly vulnerable to its harmful effects.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol-related mortality and morbidity are high in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations compared with individuals from advantaged areas. It is unclear if this increased harm reflects differences in alcohol consumption between these socioeconomic groups, reverse causation (ie, downward social selection for high-risk drinkers), or a greater risk of harm in individuals of low socioeconomic status compared with those of higher status after similar consumption. We aimed to investigate whether the harmful effects of alcohol differ by socioeconomic status, accounting for alcohol consumption and other health-related factors.

METHODS: The Scottish Health Surveys are record-linked cross-sectional surveys representative of the adult population of Scotland. We obtained baseline demographics and data for alcohol consumption (units per week and binge drinking) from Scottish Health Surveys done in 1995, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. We matched these data to records for deaths, admissions, and prescriptions. The primary outcome was alcohol-attributable admission or death. The relation between alcohol-attributable harm and socioeconomic status was investigated for four measures (education level, social class, household income, and area-based deprivation) using Cox proportional hazards models. The potential for alcohol consumption and other risk factors (including smoking and body-mass index [BMI]) mediating social patterning was explored in separate regression models. Reverse causation was tested by comparing change in area deprivation over time.

FINDINGS: 50 236 participants (21 777 men and 28 459 women) were included in the analytical sample, with 429 986 person-years of follow-up. Low socioeconomic status was associated consistently with strikingly raised alcohol-attributable harms, including after adjustment for weekly consumption, binge drinking, BMI, and smoking. Evidence was noted of effect modification; for example, relative to light drinkers living in advantaged areas, the risk of alcohol-attributable admission or death for excessive drinkers was increased (hazard ratio 6.12, 95% CI 4.45-8.41 in advantaged areas; and 10.22, 7.73-13.53 in deprived areas). We found little support for reverse causation.

INTERPRETATION: Disadvantaged social groups have greater alcohol-attributable harms compared with individuals from advantaged areas for given levels of alcohol consumption, even after accounting for different drinking patterns, obesity, and smoking status at the individual level.

FUNDING: Medical Research Council, NHS Research Scotland, Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office

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