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Alcohol, DNA Methylation, and Cancer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Project, alcohol accounts for approximately 3.2 percent of all deaths per year worldwide (corresponding to 1.8 million people) and is causally related to more than 60 different medical conditions (Rehm et al. 2004). Cancer formation (i.e., carcinogenesis) is one of the most significant consequences attributed to alcohol...

Alcohol’s Effects on Breast Cancer in Women

Globally, more than 2 million new cases of breast cancer are reported annually. The United States alone has more than 496,000 new cases every year. The worldwide prevalence is approximately 6.8 million cases. Although many risk factors for breast cancer are not modifiable, understanding the role of the factors that can be altered is critical. Alcohol consumption is a modifiable factor. Studies of...

Epigenetic Events in Liver Cancer Resulting From Alcoholic Liver Disease

The molecular pathogenesis of liver cancer (i.e., hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC]) is a multistep process that involves both genetic changes, such as chromosomal abnormalities and mutations of the DNA sequence (i.e., somatic mutations), and epigenetic mechanisms, such as chemical modifications of the DNA and the histone proteins around which the DNA is wrapped to form the chromosomes, microRNA...

Alcohol and Mortality: Global Alcohol-Attributable Deaths From Cancer, Liver Cirrhosis, and Injury in 2010

Alcohol and Mortality

Alcohol is causally linked to more than 200 different diseases, conditions, and injuries (as specified in the International Classification of Diseases, Revision 10 [ICD-10] three-digit codes [see Rehm 2011; Rehm et al. 2009; Shield et al., 2013c [pp. 155–173 of this issue]). All of these disease, condition, and injury categories cause mortality and disability, and, thus...

Effects of Alcohol on Tumor Growth, Metastasis, Immune Response, and Host Survival

Alcohol use and abuse have been implicated as etiological factors in the genesis of an increasing number of cancer types in both men and women. In 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) listed both beverage alcohol (i.e., ethanol) and its major metabolite, acetaldehyde, as tumor-inducing substances (i.e., carcinogens) in humans. The most recent worldwide statistic from 2002...

Chronic Diseases and Conditions Related to Alcohol Use

Alcohol has been a part of human culture for all of recorded history, with almost all societies in which alcohol is consumed experiencing net health and social problems (McGovern 2009; Tramacere et al. 2012b, c). With the industrialization of alcohol production and the globalization of its marketing and promotion, alcohol consumption and its related harms have increased worldwide (see Alcohol...

Focus On: Ethnicity and the Social and Health Harms From Drinking

Research has shown differential social and health effects from alcohol use across U.S. ethnic groups, including Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. The relationship of ethnicity to alcohol-related social and health harms partially is attributed to the different rates and patterns of drinking across ethnicities. Some ethnic groups have higher rates of alcohol consumption...

Uniting Epidemiology and Experimental Disease Models for Alcohol-Related Pancreatic Disease

Findings from epidemiologic studies and research with experimental animal models provide insights into alcohol-related disease pathogeneses. Epidemiologic data indicate that heavy drinking and smoking are associated with high rates of pancreatic disease. Less clear is the association between lower levels of drinking and pancreatitis. Intriguingly, a very low percentage of drinkers develop clinical...

Measuring the Burden—Current and Future Research Trends: Results From the NIAAA Expert Panel on Alcohol and Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Research is continuing to investigate how alcohol impacts chronic disease. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) hosted a 2-day Expert Panel on Alcohol and Chronic Disease Epidemiology in August 2011 to review the state of the field on alcohol and chronic disease. The panel was chaired by Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D., and Rosalind A. Breslow, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., and was...

Gender Differences in Binge Drinking

A large research literature shows that women consistently consume less alcohol than men, and they experience fewer social problems resulting from drinking than men, but these gender differences vary culturally, demographically, and historically.