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Ann Oncol. 2012 Jun;23(6):1586-93. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr460. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

Alcohol drinking and bladder cancer risk: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milan, Italy.



We aimed at investigating the risk of bladder cancer at different levels of alcohol consumption by conducting a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies.


In October 2010, we carried out a systematic literature search in the Medline database, using PubMed. We identified 16 case-control and 3 cohort studies, including a total of 11 219 cases of bladder cancer, satisfying the inclusion criteria for this meta-analysis. Moderate alcohol intake was defined as <3 drinks per day (i.e. <37.5 g of ethanol per day) and heavy intake as ≥3 drinks/day. Pooled estimates of the relative risks (RR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using random effects models.


Compared with non-drinkers, the pooled RRs of bladder cancer were 1.00 (95% CI 0.92-1.09) for moderate and 1.02 (95% CI 0.78-1.33) for heavy alcohol drinkers. When we excluded four studies that did not adjust for tobacco smoking, the corresponding estimates were 0.98 (95% CI 0.89-1.07) and 0.97 (95% CI 0.72-1.31).


This meta-analysis of epidemiological studies provides definite evidence on the absence of any material association between alcohol drinking and bladder cancer risk, even at high levels of consumption.

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