Article Abstract

Alcohol consumption as a cause of cancer: urging for more mechanism study

Authors: Feihu Xie, Shi Feng, Yilei Mao


Alcohol consumption is a major health problem worldwide. It has been identified as a Group 1 carcinogen to humans by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2006, yet up to 38.1% of the world’s population aged above 15 years old are regular drinkers. Globally, estimates suggest that 5.5% of cancer cases and 5.8% of cancer-related deaths are attributable to alcohol drinking (1). Epidemiologic studies unequivocally acknowledge chronic alcohol drinking as an important risk factor for different types of cancers, including those of upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) (oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and esophagus), liver, pancreas, female breast, colon and blood. However, there are studies suggest that light-to-moderate alcohol drinking appears to trigger anti-inflammatory mechanisms, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and dementia, and provides protection against type II diabetes (2). And in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), wine, a popular alcohol beverage, is considered rather beneficial in health preservation.

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