22 September 2022 In Cancer

Experimental evidence suggests that alcohol induces cutaneous carcinogenesis, yet epidemiological studies on the link between alcohol intake and skin cancer have been inconsistent. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) is a prospective cohort initiated in 1992 in 10 European countries. Alcohol intake at baseline and average lifetime alcohol intake were assessed using validated country-specific dietary and lifestyle questionnaires. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated in Cox models. A total of 14 037 skin cancer cases (melanoma: n = 2457; basal-cell carcinoma (BCC): n = 8711; squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC): n = 1928; unknown: n = 941) were identified among 450 112 participants (average follow-up: 15 years). Baseline alcohol intake was positively associated with SCC (>15 vs 0.1-4.9 g/day: HR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.17-1.77; Ptrend = .001), BCC (HR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.01-1.23; Ptrend = .04), and melanoma risks in men (HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.95-1.44; Ptrend = .17), while associations were more modest in women (SCC: HR = 1.09, 95% CI = 0.90-1.30; Ptrend = .13; BCC: HR = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.00-1.17, Ptrend = .03; melanoma: HR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.80-1.08, Ptrend = .13). Associations were similar for lifetime alcohol intake, with an attenuated linear trend. Lifetime liquor/spirit intake was positively associated with melanoma (fourth vs first quartile: HR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.08-1.99; Ptrend = .0009) and BCC risks in men (HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.04-1.31; Ptrend = .14). Baseline and lifetime intakes of wine were associated with BCC risk (HR = 1.25 in men; HR = 1.11-1.12; in women). No statistically significant associations were found between beverage types and SCC risk. Intake of beer was not associated with skin cancer risk. Our study suggests positive relationships between alcohol intake and skin cancer risk, which may have important implications for the primary prevention of skin cancer.

22 September 2022 In Cancer

IMPORTANCE: Although numerous studies have shown an association between alcohol consumption and cancer, how changes in drinking behavior increase or decrease the incidence of cancer is not well understood.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between the reduction, cessation, or increase of alcohol consumption and the development of alcohol-related cancers and all cancers.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This population-based cohort study analyzed adult beneficiaries in the Korean National Health Insurance Service. Participants (aged >/=40 years) included those who underwent a national health screening in both 2009 and 2011 and had available data on their drinking status. Data were analyzed from April 16 to July 6, 2020. Exposures: Alcohol consumption level, which was self-reported by participants in health screening questionnaires, was categorized into none (0 g/d), mild (/=30 g/d) drinking. Based on changes in alcohol consumption level from 2009 to 2011, participants were categorized into the following groups: nondrinker, sustainer, increaser, quitter, and reducer.

MAINS OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was newly diagnosed alcohol-related cancers (including cancers of the head and neck, esophagus, colorectum, liver, larynx, and female breast), and the secondary outcome was all newly diagnosed cancers (except for thyroid cancer).

RESULTS: Among the 4513746 participants (mean [SD] age, 53.6 [9.6] years; 2324172 [51.5%] men), the incidence rate of cancer was 7.7 per 1000 person-years during a median (IQR) follow-up of 6.4 (6.1-6.6) years. Compared with the sustainer groups at each drinking level, the increaser groups had a higher risk of alcohol-related cancers and all cancers. The increased alcohol-related cancer incidence was associated with dose; those who changed from nondrinking to mild (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00-1.06), moderate (aHR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02-1.18), or heavy (aHR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.23-1.45) drinking levels had an associated higher risk than those who did not drink. Those with mild drinking levels who quit drinking had a lower risk of alcohol-related cancer (aHR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92-0.99) than those who sustained their drinking levels. Those with moderate (aHR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03-1.12) or heavy (aHR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.02-1.12) drinking levels who quit drinking had a higher all cancer incidence than those who sustained their levels, but when quitting was sustained, this increase in risk disappeared. Compared with sustained heavy drinking, reduced heavy drinking levels to moderate levels (alcohol-related cancer: aHR, 0.91 [95% CI, 0.86-0.97]; all cancers: aHR, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.92-0.99]) or mild levels (alcohol-related cancer: aHR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.86-0.98]; all cancers: aHR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.89-0.96]) were associated with decreased cancer risk.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Results of this study showed that increased alcohol consumption was associated with higher risks for alcohol-related and all cancers, whereas sustained quitting and reduced drinking were associated with lower risks of alcohol-related and all cancers. Alcohol cessation and reduction should be reinforced for the prevention of cancer.

26 August 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels in the blood can be a sensitive marker of liver injury but the extent to which they give insight into risk across multiple outcomes in a clinically useful way remains uncertain.

METHODS: Using data from 293,667 UK Biobank participants, the relationship of GGT concentrations to self-reported alcohol intake and adiposity markers were investigated. We next investigated whether GGT predicted liver-related, cardiovascular (CV) or all-cause mortality, and potentially improved CV risk prediction.

FINDINGS: Higher alcohol intake and greater waist circumference (WC) were associated with higher GGT; the association was stronger for alcohol with evidence of a synergistic effect of WC. Higher GGT concentrations were associated with multiple outcomes. Compared to a GGT of 14.5 U/L (lowest decile), values of 48 U/L for women and 60 U/L for men (common upper limits of 'normal') had hazard ratios (HRs) for liver-related mortality of 1.83 (95% CI 1.60-2.11) and 3.25 (95% CI 2.38-4.42) respectively, for CV mortality of 1.21 (95% CI 1.14-1.28) and 1.43 (95% CI 1.27-1.60) and for all-cause mortality of 1.15 (95% CI 1.12-1.18) and 1.31 (95% CI 1.24-1.38). Adding GGT to a risk algorithm for CV mortality reclassified an additional 1.24% (95% CI 0.14-2.34) of participants across a binary 5% 10-year risk threshold.

INTERPRETATION: Our study suggests that a modest elevation in GGT levels should trigger a discussion with the individual to review diet and lifestyle including alcohol intake and consideration of formal liver disease and CV risk assessment if not previously done.

FUNDING: British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence Grant (grant number RE/18/6/34217), NHS Research Scotland (grant number SCAF/15/02), the Medical Research Council (grant number MC_UU_00022/2); and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (grant number SPHSU17).

26 August 2022 In Drinking Patterns

Older adults of today consume more alcohol, yet knowledge about the factors associated with different consumption levels is limited in this age group. Based on the data from a population-based sample (n = 1156, 539 men and 617 women) in The Gothenburg H70 Birth Cohort Study 2014-16, we examined sociodemographic, social, and health-related factors associated with alcohol consumption levels in 70-year-olds, using logistic regression. Total weekly alcohol intake was calculated based on the self-reported amount of alcohol consumed.

Alcohol consumption was categorized as lifetime abstention, former drinking, moderate consumption (98 g/week). At-risk consumption was further categorized into lower at-risk (98-196 g/week), medium at-risk (196-350 g/week), and higher at-risk (>/=350 g/week). We found that among the 1156 participants, 3% were lifetime abstainers, 3% were former drinkers, 64% were moderate drinkers, and 30% were at-risk drinkers (20% lower, 8% medium, 2% higher).

Among several factors, former drinking was associated with worse general self-rated health (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.08-2.51) and lower health-related quality of life (measured by physical component score) (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.91-0.97), higher illness burden (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.07-1.27), and weaker grip strength (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.94-0.98). Higher at-risk drinkers more often had liver disease (OR 11.41, 95% CI 3.48-37.37) and minor depression (OR 4.57, 95% CI 1.40-14.95), but less contacts with health care (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.11-0.92).

Our findings demonstrate the importance of classifications beyond abstinence and at-risk consumption, with implications for both the prevention and clinical management of unhealthy consumption patterns in older adults.

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