Alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase gene polymorphisms and oropharyngolaryngeal, esophageal and stomach cancers in Japanese alcoholics

Carcinogenesis. 2001 Mar;22(3):433-9. doi: 10.1093/carcin/22.3.433.


Alcohol dehydrogenase-2 (ADH2) and aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) gene polymorphisms play roles in ethanol metabolism, drinking behavior and esophageal carcinogenesis in Japanese; however, the combined influence of ADH2 and ALDH2 genotypes on other aerodigestive tract cancers have not been investigated. ADH2/ALDH2 genotyping was performed on lymphocyte DNA samples from Japanese alcoholic men (526 cancer-free; 159 with solitary or multiple aerodigestive tract cancers, including 33 oropharyngolaryngeal, 112 esophageal, 38 stomach and 22 multiple primary cancers in two or three organs). After adjustment for age, drinking and smoking habits, and ADH2/ALDH2 genotypes, the presence of either ADH2*1/2*1 or ALDH2*1/2*2 significantly increased the risk for oropharyngolaryngeal cancer [odds ratios (ORs), 6.68 with ADH2*1/2*1 and 18.52 with ALDH2*1/2*2] and esophageal cancer (ORs, 2.64 and 13.50, respectively). For patients with both ADH2*1/2*1 and ALDH2*1/2*2, the risks for oropharyngolaryngeal and esophageal cancers were enhanced in a multiplicative fashion (OR = 121.77 and 40.40, respectively). A positive association with ALDH2*1/2*2 alone was observed for stomach cancer patients who also had oropharyngolaryngeal and/or esophageal cancer (OR = 110.58), but it was not observed for those with stomach cancer alone. Furthermore, in the presence of ALDH2*1/2*2, the risks for multiple intra-esophageal cancers (OR = 3.43) and for esophageal cancer with oropharyngolaryngeal and/or stomach cancer (OR = 3.95) were higher than the risks for solitary intra-esophageal cancer and for esophageal cancer alone, but these tendencies were not observed for ADH2*1/2*1 genotype. Alcoholics' population attributable risks due to ADH2/ALDH2 polymorphisms were estimated to be 82.0% for oropharyngolaryngeal cancer and 63.9% for esophageal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / enzymology
  • Alcoholism / genetics*
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / complications
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / complications
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / complications
  • Stomach Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics*


  • DNA Primers
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase