Monday, 06 November 2017 14:33

Alcohol and Cancer: Mechanisms and Therapies

Several scientific and clinical studies have shown an association between chronic alcohol consumption and the occurrence of cancer in humans. The mechanism for alcohol-induced carcinogenesis has not been fully understood, although plausible events include genotoxic effects of acetaldehyde, cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1)-mediated generation of reactive oxygen species, aberrant metabolism of folate and retinoids, increased estrogen, and genetic polymorphisms. Here, we summarize the impact of alcohol drinking on the risk of cancer development and potential underlying molecular mechanisms. The interactions between alcohol abuse, anti-tumor immune response, tumor growth, and metastasis are complex. However, multiple studies have linked the immunosuppressive effects of alcohol with tumor progression and metastasis. The influence of alcohol on the host immune system and the development of possible effective immunotherapy for cancer in alcoholics are also discussed here. The conclusive biological effects of alcohol on tumor progression and malignancy have not been investigated extensively using an animal model that mimics the human disease. This review provides insights into cancer pathogenesis in alcoholics, alcohol and immune interactions in different cancers, and scope and future of targeted immunotherapeutic modalities in patients with alcohol abuse.

Published in Cancer

An association between heavy alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk has been recently reported, but the issue is still open to discussion and quantification. We investigated the role of alcohol drinking on gastric cancer risk in the "Stomach cancer Pooling (StoP) Project," a consortium of epidemiological studies. A total of 9,669 cases and 25,336 controls from 20 studies from Europe, Asia and North America were included. We estimated summary odds-ratios (ORs) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by pooling study-specific ORs using random-effects meta-regression models. Compared with abstainers, drinkers of up to 4 drinks/day of alcohol had no increase in gastric cancer risk, while the ORs were 1.26 (95% CI, 1.08-1.48) for heavy (>4 to 6 drinks/day) and 1.48 (95% CI 1.29-1.70) for very heavy (>6 drinks/day) drinkers. The risk for drinkers of >4 drinks/day was higher in never smokers (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.35-2.58) as compared with current smokers (OR 1.14, 95% CI 0.93-1.40). Somewhat stronger associations emerged with heavy drinking in cardia (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.11-2.34) than in non-cardia (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.13-1.45) gastric cancers, and in intestinal-type (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.20-1.97) than in diffuse-type (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.05-1.58) cancers. The association was similar in strata of H. pylori infected (OR = 1.52, 95% CI 1.16-2.00) and noninfected subjects (OR = 1.69, 95% CI 0.95-3.01). Our collaborative pooled-analysis provides definite, more precise quantitative evidence than previously available of an association between heavy alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk.

Published in Cancer

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have revealed inconsistent findings regarding the association of light to moderate alcohol consumption with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to examine the association between alcohol consumption and risk of mortality from all causes, cancer, and CVD in U.S. adults.

METHODS: Data were obtained by linking 13 waves of the National Health Interview Surveys (1997 to 2009) to the National Death Index records through December 31, 2011. A total of 333,247 participants >/=18 years of age were included. Self-reported alcohol consumption patterns were categorized into 6 groups: lifetime abstainers; lifetime infrequent drinkers; former drinkers; and current light, moderate, or heavy drinkers. Secondary exposure included participants' binge-drinking status. The main outcome was all-cause, cancer, or CVD mortality.

RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 8.2 years (2.7 million person-years), 34,754 participants died of all causes (including 8,947 CVD deaths and 8,427 cancer deaths). Compared with lifetime abstainers, those who were light or moderate alcohol consumers were at a reduced risk of mortality for all causes (light-hazard ratio [HR]: 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76 to 0.82; moderate-HR: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.74 to 0.82) and CVD (light-HR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.80; moderate-HR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.64 to 0.78), respectively. In contrast, there was a significantly increased risk of mortality for all causes (HR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.19) and cancer (HR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.13 to 1.42) in adults with heavy alcohol consumption. Binge drinking >/=1 d/week was also associated with an increased risk of mortality for all causes (HR: 1.13; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.23) and cancer (HR: 1.22; 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.41).

CONCLUSIONS: Light and moderate alcohol intake might have a protective effect on all-cause and CVD-specific mortality in U.S. adults. Heavy or binge drinking was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality.

Published in Cancer
The aim of the present systematic review and meta-analysis was to gain further insight into the effects of adherence to Mediterranean Diet (MedD) on risk of overall cancer mortality, risk of different types of cancer, and cancer mortality and recurrence risk in cancer survivors. Literature search was performed using the electronic databases PubMed, and Scopus until 25 August 2017. We included randomized trials (RCTs), cohort (for specific tumors only incidence cases were used) studies, and case-control studies. Study-specific risk ratios, hazard ratios, and odds ratios (RR/HR/OR) were pooled using a random effects model. Observational studies (cohort and case-control studies), and intervention trials were meta-analyzed separately. The updated review process showed 27 studies that were not included in the previous meta-analysis (total number of studies evaluated: 83 studies). An overall population of 2,130,753 subjects was included in the present update. The highest adherence score to a MedD was inversely associated with a lower risk of cancer mortality (RRcohort: 0.86, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.91, I(2) = 82%; n = 14 studies), colorectal cancer (RRobservational: 0.82, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.88, I(2) = 73%; n = 11 studies), breast cancer (RRRCT: 0.43, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.88, n = 1 study) (RRobservational: 0.92, 95% CI 0.87 to 0.96, I(2) = 22%, n = 16 studies), gastric cancer (RRobservational: 0.72, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.86, I(2) = 55%; n = 4 studies), liver cancer (RRobservational: 0.58, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.73, I(2) = 0%; n = 2 studies), head and neck cancer (RRobservational: 0.49, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.66, I(2) = 87%; n = 7 studies), and prostate cancer (RRobservational: 0.96, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.00, I(2) = 0%; n = 6 studies). Among cancer survivors, the association between the adherence to the highest MedD category and risk of cancer mortality, and cancer recurrence was not statistically significant. Pooled analyses of individual components of the MedD revealed that the protective effects appear to be most attributable to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The updated meta-analysis confirms an important inverse association between adherence to a MedD and cancer mortality and risk of several cancer types, especially colorectal cancer. These observed beneficial effects are mainly driven by higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Moreover, we were able to report for the first time a small decrease in breast cancer risk (6%) by pooling seven cohort studies
Published in Cancer

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The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer.