Alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer: A meta-analysis

Vincenzo Bagnardi, Marta Blangiardo, Carlo La Vecchia, Giovanni Corrao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk for various types of cancer. A combined analysis of more than 200 studies assessing the link between alcohol and various types of cancer (i.e., a meta-analysis) sought to investigate this association in more detail. This meta-analysis found that alcohol most strongly increased the risks for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, and larynx. Statistically significant increases in risk also existed for cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, liver, female breast, and ovaries. Several mechanisms have been postulated through which alcohol may contribute to an increased risk of cancer. Concurrent tobacco use, which is common among drinkers, enhances alcohol's effects on the risk for cancers of the upper digestive and respiratory tract. The analysis did not identify a threshold level of alcohol consumption below which no increased risk for cancer was evident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
JournalAlcohol Research and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • AOD (alcohol or other drug) consumption
  • Cancer
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Chronic AODE (effects of AOD use, abuse, and dependence)
  • Distilled alcoholic beverage
  • Dose-response relationship
  • Esophageal disorder
  • Gender differences
  • Oral disorder
  • Tobacco in any form

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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  • Cite this

    Bagnardi, V., Blangiardo, M., La Vecchia, C., & Corrao, G. (2001). Alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer: A meta-analysis. Alcohol Research and Health, 25(4), 263-270.