Drinking Liquor Linked to Pancreatic Cancer Mortality

Pancreatic cancer mortality associated with three or more drinks a day, independent of smoking

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol consumption of three or more drinks per day, specifically liquor, is associated with increased pancreatic cancer mortality independent of smoking, according to a study published in the March 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Susan M. Gapstur, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the association between alcohol intake and pancreatic cancer mortality in 1,030,467 adults, aged 30 years and older, who were participants of the Cancer Prevention Study II. Alcohol consumption was assessed by a self-reported questionnaire in 1982, and participants were followed up until 2006. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks (RRs) were determined after controlling for risk factors.

The researchers identified 6,847 pancreatic cancer deaths during the follow-up period. Compared to nondrinkers, the RRs of pancreatic cancer mortality in drinkers with current intakes of less than one drink per day or one, two, three, or four drinks per day were 1.06, 0.99, 1.06, 1.25, and 1.17, respectively. RR of pancreatic cancer mortality for those who consumed three or more drinks per day was 1.36 in nonsmokers compared to 1.16 in ever smokers. This association was seen only with liquor consumption (RR, 1.32) and not with beer (RR, 1.08) or wine (RR, 1.09).

"In this large prospective study, alcohol intake of three or more drinks per day consumed as liquor was associated with an excess risk of pancreatic cancer mortality after adjustment for smoking history, as well as in lifelong never smokers," the authors write.

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