Alcohol consumption and risk of laryngeal cancer

Oral Oncol. 2005 Nov;41(10):956-65. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2005.02.004. Epub 2005 May 31.


Epidemiological studies consistently showed that alcohol drinking increases the risk of laryngeal cancer. This risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed: in recent studies conducted in North America, Europe, Japan and Korea the multivariate relative risks for the highest levels of consumption ranged between 2 and 10, and were 1.94 for 50 g/day and 3.95 for 100 g/day in a meta-analysis of 20 studies. Further, the risk increases by concomitant tobacco smoking, each agent approximately multiplying the effect of the other. In the absence of smoking the risks are small for moderate alcohol consumption. After stopping drinking, some fall in risk becomes apparent in the long term. The role of age at starting and stopping drinking is still unclear. In various studies, the most commonly used alcoholic beverage appears to be the most associated with laryngeal cancer risk, suggesting that no meaningful difference exists for different types of alcoholic beverages. The supraglottis is more closely related to alcohol consumption, as compared to the glottis/subglottis. Alcohol drinking may influence laryngeal cancer risk particularly through its direct contact or solvent action, perhaps by enhancing the effects of tobacco or other environmental carcinogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects