The team from Milan and Aviano investigated the separate and combined effect of drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages on esophageal cancer, and reported their findings in December's European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
They analyzed a total of 714 incident cases of esophageal cancer, and 3,137 controls. All were admitted to hospitals in the greater Milan area and province of Pordenone for acute, non-neoplastic conditions, unrelated to alcohol consumption.
Trained interviewers identified and questioned cases and controls using standardized structured questionnaires. Information on the average number of days per week each type of alcoholic beverage (wine, beer, spirits) was consumed, and the average number of drinks per day was obtained.
Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using unconditional multiple logistic regression equations.
|Esophagal cancer ORs for individuals consuming wine only:|
3-4 drinks/day 1.70
|Eur J Clin Nutr |
The researchers found that, with reference to total alcohol drinking as compared to non- or moderate drinkers (less than 3 drinks per day), the multivariate ORs were raised. Those who consumed 3-4 drinks per day had an OR of 1.98. For 5-7, 8-11, or 12 or more drinks per day, the ORs were 4.22, 7.60, and 12.35, respectively. Higher risks were observed for wine-only drinkers and the corresponding values were 1.70, 4.21, 8.76 and 17.90.
After allowance for wine intake, no association was observed between beer and spirit drinking and esophageal cancer, in a population in which 80% of alcohol came from wine.
Researcher C. Bosetti concluded on behalf of the group, "The amount of ethanol determines the risk of esophageal cancer, and the most commonly used alcoholic beverage appear to be most strongly associated."