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Ui-Jeong Kim 1 Article
Cancer risk based on alcohol consumption levels: a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis
Seunghee Jun, Hyunjin Park, Ui-Jeong Kim, Eun Jeong Choi, Hye Ah Lee, Bomi Park, Soon Young Lee, Sun Ha Jee, Hyesook Park
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023092.   Published online October 16, 2023
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Alcohol consumption is a well-established risk factor for cancer. Despite extensive research into the relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer risk, the effect of light alcohol consumption on cancer risk remains a topic of debate. To contribute to this discourse, we conducted a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis.
Our systematic review aimed to investigate the associations between different levels of alcohol consumption and the risk of several cancer types. We focused on analyzing prospective associations using data from 139 cohort studies. Among them, 106 studies were included in the meta-analysis after a quantitative synthesis.
Our analysis did not find a significant association between light alcohol consumption and all-cause cancer risk (relative risk, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.99 to 1.04), but we observed a dose-response relationship. Light alcohol consumption was significantly associated with higher risks of esophageal, colorectal, and breast cancers. Light to moderate drinking was associated with elevated risks of esophageal, colorectal, laryngeal, and breast cancers. Heavy drinking was also found to contribute to the risk of stomach, liver, pancreas, and prostate cancers, thereby increasing the risk of almost all types of cancer. Additionally, females generally had lower cancer risks compared to males.
Our findings highlight that cancer risks extend beyond heavy alcohol consumption to include light alcohol consumption as well. These findings suggest that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption associated with cancer risk. Our results underscore the importance of public health interventions addressing alcohol consumption to mitigate cancer risks.
Korean summary
본 연구는 코호트 연구를 기반으로 하여 음주의 수준에 따른 암 위험 연관성에 대해 체계적 문헌고찰(139편)과 메타분석(106편)을 수행하였다. 연구 결과, 음주와 암 위험 사이에 용량-반응 관계가 나타났으며, 소량의 음주는 암 유형에 따라 차이가 있었으나, 식도암, 대장암, 전립선암(남성), 유방암(여성)에서 암 위험과의 연관성이 있음을 발견했다. 따라서, 암 위험 측면에서 음주에 안전한 수준이 없음을 시사하며, 음주와 관련된 잠재적 피해를 완화하기 위해서는 음주 지침 강화와 같은 공중보건개입이 필요하다.
Key Message
The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between different levels of alcohol consumption and the risk of various cancer types through a systematic review and meta-analysis, providing insights into the ongoing debate about alcohol consumption and cancer causality. The findings support a dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption levels and cancer risk and the light alcohol consumption was associated with risks of esophageal, colorectal, prostate (male), and breast (female) cancer. These results emphasize the absence of a safe threshold for alcohol consumption in terms of cancer risk.


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