Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Hepatic Ethanol Metabolism

  • Iain H. McKillop
  • Laura W. Schrum
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_2653-2


The majority of ethanol metabolism occurs in the liver following the ingestion of alcoholic beverages. The enzymatic reactions involved in ethanol metabolism can in turn lead to a variety of deleterious effects on cells both within the liver and at the systemic level which has led to chronic ethanol consumption being identified as a major risk factor in the development of liver cancer and a significant risk factor for the development of non-hepatic tumors.


The liver demonstrates a “dual circulation” vasculature in which oxygenated blood is delivered via the hepatic artery and deoxygenated blood, containing substances that have been absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, via the hepatic portal vein. Following ingestion ethanol is rapidly absorbed and enters the hepatic portal vein where it is delivered to the functional subunits of the liver termed the hepatic lobules. As blood flows through the hepatic vasculature (sinusoids), specialized epithelial cells,...


Alcoholic Liver Disease Ethanol Consumption Ethanol Intake Alcoholic Hepatitis Fatty Acid Ethyl Ester 
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  1. McKillop IH, Schrum LW (2005) Alcohol and liver cancer. Alcohol 35:195–203CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. McKillop IH, Moran DM, Jin X et al (2006) Molecular pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma. J Surg Res 136:125–135CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryCarolinas Medical CenterCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyThe University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA