Alcohol intake and pancreatic cancer risk: a pooled analysis of fourteen cohort studies

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Genkinger JM, Spiegelman D, Anderson KE, Bergkvist L, Bernstein L, van den Brandt PA, English DR, Freudenheim JL, Fuchs CS, Giles GG, Giovannucci E, Hankinson SE, Horn-Ross PL, Leitzmann M, Mannisto S, Marshall JR, McCullough ML, Miller AB, Reding DJ, Robien K, Rohan TE, Schatzkin A, Stevens VL, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Verhage BA, Wolk A, Ziegler RG, Smith-Warner SA (2009) Alcohol intake and pancreatic cancer risk: a pooled analysis of fourteen cohort studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 18:765-776


BACKGROUND: Few risk factors have been implicated in pancreatic cancer etiology. Alcohol has been theorized to promote carcinogenesis. However, epidemiologic studies have reported inconsistent results relating alcohol intake to pancreatic cancer risk. METHODS: We conducted a pooled analysis of the primary data from 14 prospective cohort studies. The study sample consisted of 862,664 individuals among whom 2,187 incident pancreatic cancer cases were identified. Study-specific relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models and then pooled using a random effects model. RESULTS: A slight positive association with pancreatic cancer risk was observed for alcohol intake (pooled multivariate relative risk, 1.22; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.45 comparing >or=30 to 0 grams/day of alcohol; P value, test for between-studies heterogeneity=0.80). For this comparison, the positive association was only statistically significant among women although the difference in the results by gender was not statistically significant (P value, test for interaction=0.19). Slightly stronger results for alcohol intake were observed when we limited the analysis to cases with adenocarcinomas of the pancreas. No statistically significant associations were observed for alcohol from wine, beer, and spirits comparing intakes of >or=5 to 0 grams/day. A stronger positive association between alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer risk was observed among normal weight individuals compared with overweight and obese individuals (P value, test for interaction=0.01). DISCUSSION: Our findings are consistent with a modest increase in risk of pancreatic cancer with consumption of 30 or more grams of alcohol per day.

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