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Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 1205–1231 | Cite as

Alcohol consumption and liver cancer risk: a meta-analysis

  • Shu-Chun Chuang
  • Yuan-Chin Amy Lee
  • Guo-Jie Wu
  • Kurt Straif
  • Mia HashibeEmail author
Review article

Abstract

Purpose

Alcohol is a confirmed risk factor of liver cancer. Yet, its dose–response function and synergistic effects with other risk factors remain unclear.

Methods

We performed a meta-analysis on publications up to May 2014. A total of 112 publications were identified. The meta-relative risk (mRR) and the dose–response trend were calculated. Tests for heterogeneity, publication bias, and sensitivity analyses were performed. The synergy index (SI) was recorded or calculated, whenever possible.

Results

Compared to individuals who never drank or drank at very low frequencies, the mRR for ever drinkers was 1.29 (95 % confidence interval, CI 1.16–1.42) and 1.46 (95 % CI 1.27–1.65) for case–control studies, and 1.07 (95 % CI 0.87–1.27) for cohort studies. Being a current drinker was associated with an increased liver cancer risk in case–control studies (mRR = 1.55, 95 % CI 0.38–2.73), but not in cohort studies (mRR = 0.86, 95 % CI 0.74–0.97). The dose–response relation between alcohol and liver cancer was apparent with RR = 1.08 (95 % CI 1.04–1.11) for 12 g/day (~1 drink), 1.54 (95 % CI 1.36–1.74) for 50 g/day, 2.14 (95 % CI 1.74–2.62) for 75 g/day, 3.21 (95 % CI 2.34–4.40) for 100 g/day, and 5.20 (95 % CI 3.25–8.29) for 125 g/day of alcohol consumption. There were synergistic effects of alcohol consumption with hepatitis (S = 2.14, 95 % CI 1.31–2.98) and with diabetes (S = 3.57, 95 % CI 2.29–4.84) on the risk of liver cancer, although this may be subject to publication bias.

Conclusion

Overall, one alcoholic drink per day (~12 g/day) may be associated with a 1.1 times higher liver cancer risk. Further studies on the synergistic effects of alcohol consumption and other major risk factors are warranted.

Keywords

Alcohol Liver cancer Meta-analysis Dose–risk relationship 

Notes

Acknowledgments

There was no external funding for the project.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shu-Chun Chuang
    • 1
  • Yuan-Chin Amy Lee
    • 2
  • Guo-Jie Wu
    • 1
  • Kurt Straif
    • 3
  • Mia Hashibe
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institutes of Population Health SciencesNational Health Research InstitutesMiaoliTaiwan
  2. 2.Division of Public Health, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Huntsman Cancer InstituteUniversity of Utah School of MedicineSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.International Agency for Research on CancerLyonFrance

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