Alcoholism pp 275-296 | Cite as

Alcohol and Cancer: A Critical Review

  • Helmut K. Seitz
  • Ulrich A. Simanowski
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 206)


An association between alcoholism and the occurrence of certain tumors has been recognized for decades. At the beginning of this century Lamu (1910) in France showed that absinthe drinkers have an increased risk of esophageal cancer. Meanwhile a great number of epidemiologic studies has shown that there is a good correlation between chronic alcohol consumption and the occurrence of tumors in the oropharynx, in the larynx and in the esophagus (for review see Seitz and Simanowski, 1988; Garro and Lieber, 1990). In addition chronic alcohol consumption also enhances the development of primary hepatic carcinoma especially in a cirrhotic liver (for review see Seitz et al 1989). Most recently, retrospective, prospective and case-control epidemiologic studies gave evidence that there is also a correlation between alcohol intake (especially in form of beer) and rectal cancer (for review see Seitz and Simanowski, 1989). The data with respect to cancer of the breast are still controversial. The major purpose of this review is to discuss the mechanism of the ethanol-associated mechanism of tumor stimulation.


Alcohol Consumption Rectal Cancer Alcoholic Liver Disease Chronic Ethanol Chronic Alcohol Consumption 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helmut K. Seitz
    • 1
  • Ulrich A. Simanowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Alcohol Research Laboratory Section of Gastroenterology & Hepatology Department of MedicineUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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