Stomach cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. The relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of stomach cancer remains unclear. Epidemiology studies investigating this relationship have shown inconsistent findings. A meta-analysis was performed to explore the association between alcohol consumption and increased stomach cancer risk. Eighty-one epidemiology studies, including 68 case-control studies and 13 cohort studies, were included in this study. A significant association was found between alcohol consumption and increased risk of stomach cancer (OR = 1.20, 95% CI 1.12-1.27). To explore the source of the significant heterogeneity (p < 0.05, I2 = 86%), analysis was stratified by study type (case-control study and cohort study), control type (hospital-based control and population-based control), gender (male, female, and mix), race (White and Asian), region (United States, Sweden, China, Japan), subsite of stomach cancer, and type of alcohol. The stratified analyses found that region and cancer subsite are major sources of the high heterogeneity. The inconsistent results in different regions and different subsites might be related to smoking rates, Helicobacter pylori infection, obesity, and potential genetic susceptibility. The positive association between drinking and increased risk of stomach cancer is consistent in stratified analyses. The dose-response analysis showed a clear trend that a higher daily intake of alcohol is associated with a higher risk of stomach cancer.
Keywords: Alcohol; Meta-analysis; Stomach cancer.
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