Background: While tobacco and alcohol are established risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of primary liver cancer, it is unknown whether they also increase the risk of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). Thus, we examined the association between tobacco and alcohol use by primary liver cancer type.
Methods: The Liver Cancer Pooling Project is a consortium of 14 US-based prospective cohort studies that includes data from 1,518,741 individuals (HCC n = 1423, ICC n = 410). Multivariable-adjusted hazards ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using proportional hazards regression.
Results: Current smokers at baseline had an increased risk of HCC (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.86, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.57-2.20) and ICC (HR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.07-2.02). Among individuals who quit smoking >30 years ago, HCC risk was almost equivalent to never smokers (HR = 1.09, 95% CI: 0.74-1.61). Compared to non-drinkers, heavy alcohol consumption was associated with an 87% increased HCC risk (HR≥7 drinks/day = 1.87, 95% CI: 1.41-2.47) and a 68% increased ICC risk (HR≥5 drinks/day = 1.68, 95% CI: 0.99-2.86). However, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption of <3 drinks/day appeared to be inversely associated with HCC risk (HR>0-<0.5 drinks/day = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.67-0.89; HR>0.5-<1 drinks/day = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.44-0.73; HR1-<3 drinks/day = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.58-0.87), but not ICC.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that, in this relatively healthy population, smoking cessation and light-to-moderate drinking may reduce the risk of HCC.