Esophageal Cancer

Pooled data from 4 studies demonstrated that an increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) was associated with a drinker/alcohol dietary pattern (odds ratio, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.22-3.45).12 Alcohol and tobacco consumption is synergistic, with one study estimating an increased odds of ESCC of 3.28 (95% CI, 2.11-508).13 A meta-analysis of 12 studies found that pre-diagnosis alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of death from esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (RR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.15-1.61).14


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Pancreatic Cancer

Heavy alcohol consumption was associated with a significantly increased risk of pancreatic cancer (RR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.06-1.25), particularly high consumption of liquor (RR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.17-1.74).15 Another meta-analysis found that heavy alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.10-1.48), but also that light to moderate consumption was associated with a decreased risk for the disease (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.83-0.98).16

Other Cancers

Multiple meta-analyses of epidemiologic studies demonstrated an association between alcohol consumption, particularly heavy use, and gastric, head and neck squamous cell, liver, and upper aerodigestive tract cancers, and melanoma.17-21 Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy was associated with pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (OR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.13-2.15).22

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One meta-analysis found no association between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer, but a more recent study found a significant dose-response relationship (P < .01) between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer compared with non-drinking.23 The association was significant but modest for light to moderate drinkers, with an RR of 1.18 with the highest consumption level (P < .001). There was a similar finding for prostate cancer–related morbidity and mortality.