Prospective study of the association of alcohol with cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract and other sites

Cancer Causes Control. 1992 Mar;3(2):145-51. doi: 10.1007/BF00051654.


The association of alcohol consumption with cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract, hepato-biliary-pancreatic system, urogenital organs (except for prostate), and lymphohematopoietic tissue was evaluated in a prospective study of 6,701 American men of Japanese ancestry living in Hawaii. Compared with cancer-free subjects, subjects who subsequently developed cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (oral-pharynx, esophagus, and larynx), liver, biliary tract, and lymphohematopoietic tissue consumed significantly larger amounts of total alcohol--mainly in the form of beer. Subjects who developed oral-pharyngeal and esophageal cancer also consumed larger amounts of wine and spirits. Because the upper aerodigestive tract cancers were associated positively with cigarette smoking, age-adjusted relative risks (RR) were calculated, based on joint exposure to cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol intake (greater than or equal to 30 ml/day) in this population. A markedly increased risk was observed among subjects who were both heavy alcohol drinkers and smokers (RR = 17.3, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 6.7-44.2), compared with subjects who who did not smoke and did not drink heavily. The risk for these cancers also was increased among heavy alcohol drinkers who were nonsmokers (RR = 8.6, CI = 2.1-36.0).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Beer / adverse effects
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / adverse effects
  • Hawaii
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Leukemia / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lymphoma / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / etiology


  • Ethanol