Scale and Scope of Gene-Alcohol Interactions in Chronic Pancreatitis: A Systematic Review

Genes (Basel). 2021 Mar 25;12(4):471. doi: 10.3390/genes12040471.


Background: Excessive alcohol consumption has long been known to be the primary cause of chronic pancreatitis (CP) but genetic risk factors have been increasingly identified over the past 25 years. The scale and scope of gene-alcohol interactions in CP nevertheless remain unclear.

Methods: All studies that had obtained genetic variant data concurrently on alcoholic CP (ACP) patients, non-ACP (NACP) patients and normal controls were collated. Employing normal controls as a common baseline, paired ORACP and ORNACP (odds ratios associated with ACP and NACP, respectively) values were calculated and used to assess gene-alcohol interactions.

Results: Thirteen variants involving PRSS1, SPINK1, CTRC, CLDN2, CPA1, CEL and CTRB1-CTRB2, and varying from very rare to common, were collated. Seven variants had an ORACP > ORNACP, which was regarded as an immediate indicator of gene-alcohol interactions in CP. Variants with an ORACP < ORNACP were also found to interact with alcohol consumption by virtue of their impact on age at first pancreatitis symptoms in ACP.

Conclusions: This study revealed evidence for extensive gene-alcohol interactions in CP. Our findings lend support to the hypothesis that alcohol affects the expression of genetically determined CP and highlight a predominant role of weak-effect variants in the development of ACP.

Keywords: gene dosage effect; genetic predisposition to disease; genetic variation; genome-wide association study; human.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic / etiology
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic / metabolism
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic / pathology*


  • Genetic Markers