The Carcinogenicity of Alcoholic Beverages: A Review

Document Type: Review Article

Authors

1 Student Research Committee, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Nutrition Research Center, Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Nutrition Research Center, Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

There is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption increases the riskof oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, gastric, breast, prostate, colorectal, and liver cancers. Lifestyle behaviors, including drinking patterns and smoking status can synergistically increase the adverse outcomes of alcohol intake. This review aims at summarizing published data considering alcohol consumption as a risk factor for major cancers and possible mechanisms in its pathogenesis. A literature search was carried out in PubMed, Science direct, Google scholar, Medline, and Web of Science (ISI) databases. The search was limited to studies published in English. 59 eligible articles were identified. The available data provided adequate scientific evidence which pointed toward a positive association between alcohol intake and development of oral, pharynx, esophagus, gastric, breast, prostate, colorectal, and liver cancer. This review provided sufficient evidence that alcohol, even at low intakes, significantly increases the risk of cancer in those sites where there is direct contact with alcohol such as the oral cavity, pharynx, and esophagus. Clinicians shouldalways evaluate the patient-specific risk, considering the additive/synergistic behaviors, including drinking pattern and smoking status together.

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