Researchers from Italy and France investigated the relationship between alcohol consumption and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in men and women separately.
They also evaluated the impact of hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infections.
A total of 464 subjects (380 men), with a first diagnosis of HCC, were enrolled as cases.
A further 824 subjects (686 men), unaffected by hepatic diseases, were included as controls.
All participants were hospitalized in Brescia, northern Italy, in 1995-2000.
The team found that drinking more than 60 g of ethanol per day increased the risk of HCC in both men and women.
Duration of drinking and age at start had no effect on the odds ratio when alcohol intake was considered.
| Risk of HCC doubled in heavy drinkers with viral hepatitis infection.
| American Journal of Epidemiology |
Former drinkers, who had stopped 1-10 years previously, had a higher risk of HCC than current drinkers did.
The investigators found that the effect of alcohol drinking was evident even in the absence of hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus infection.
In addition, a synergism between alcohol drinking and either infection was found.
The risk of HCC in patients with a viral hepatitis infection was approximately doubled if they drank more than 60 g of alcohol per day.