Heavy alcohol consumption is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Globally, alcohol per-capita consumption rose from 5.5 litres in 2005 to 6.4 litres in 2016 and is projected to increase further to 7.6 litres in 2030. In 2019, an estimated 25% of global cirrhosis deaths were associated with alcohol. The global estimated age-standardized death rate (ASDR) of alcohol-associated cirrhosis was 4.5 per 100,000 population, with the highest and lowest ASDR in Africa and the Western Pacific, respectively. The annual incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis ranged from 0.9% to 5.6%. Alcohol was associated with approximately one-fifth of global HCC-related deaths in 2019. Between 2012 and 2017, the global estimated ASDR for alcohol-associated cirrhosis declined, but the ASDR for alcohol-associated liver cancer increased. Measures are required to curb heavy alcohol consumption to reduce the burden of alcohol-associated cirrhosis and HCC. Degree of alcohol intake, sex, older age, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, gut microbial dysbiosis and genetic variants are key factors in the development of alcohol-associated cirrhosis and HCC. In this Review, we discuss the global epidemiology, projections and risk factors for alcohol-associated cirrhosis and HCC.
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