Increase in risk of certain gastric cancer from heavy drinking

May 18, 2011, Boston University Medical Center

The results from a very well-done meta-analysis support other data generated on the risk of alcohol consumption and gastric cancer – that is – that the risk may be real for heavy alcohol consumption but not for moderate intake. The type of gastric cancer relating to heavier alcohol intake in this study tended to be tumors involving the noncardia, but differences between the association with tumors of the gastric cardia were not significant.

There was no increased risk of from alcohol intake among Asians; this may be due to their lower alcohol intake; there is a greater prevalence among Asians of the inactive ALDH2 genotype that is associated with flushing and other adverse effects of alcohol, and such subjects tend to drink less alcohol. However, a number of studies have shown higher risk for upper aero-digestive cancers for subjects with this ALDH2 genotype, so the overall reason for the lower risk among Asians in this study remains unclear. The main outcome of the study is that there is no increase in the risk of gastric cancer associated with the moderate intake of alcohol.

Explore further: The role that alcohol drinking may play in the risk of cancer

More information: Tramacere I, Negri E, Pelucchi C, Bagnardi V, Rota M, Scotti L, Islami F, Corrao G, La Vecchia C, Boffetta P. A meta-analysis on alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk. Ann Oncology 2011; doi:10.1093/annonc/mdr135

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