Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Oncol. 2011 Sep;22(9):1958-72. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdq653. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

Alcohol drinking and colorectal cancer risk: an overall and dose-response meta-analysis of published studies.

Author information

International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.



The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that alcohol consumption is related to colorectal cancer (CRC). However, several issues remain unresolved, including quantification of the association for light (≤1 drink/day) and moderate (2-3 drinks/day) alcohol drinking, investigation of the dose-response relationship, and potential heterogeneity of effects by sex, colorectal site, and geographical region.


Twenty-seven cohort and 34 case-control studies presenting results for at least three categories of alcohol intake were identified from a PubMed search of articles published before May 2010. The summary relative risks (RRs) were estimated by the random effects model. Second-order fractional polynomials and random effects meta-regression models were used for modeling the dose-risk relation.


The RRs were 1.21 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13-1.28] for moderate and 1.52 (95% CI 1.27-1.81) for heavy (≥4 drinks/day) alcohol drinking. The RR for moderate drinkers, compared with non-/occasional drinkers, was stronger for men (RR = 1.24, 95% CI 1.13-1.37) than for women (RR = 1.08, 95% CI 1.03-1.13; P(heterogeneity) = 0.02). For heavy drinkers, the association was stronger in Asian studies (RR = 1.81, 95% CI 1.33-2.46; P(heterogeneity) = 0.04). The dose-risk analysis estimated RRs of 1.07 (95% CI 1.04-1.10), 1.38 (95% CI 1.28-1.50), and 1.82 (95% CI 1.41-2.35) for 10, 50, and 100 g/day of alcohol, respectively.


This meta-analysis provides strong evidence for an association between alcohol drinking of >1 drink/day and colorectal cancer risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center