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J Prev Med Public Health. 2012 Sep;45(5):301-8. doi: 10.3961/jpmph.2012.45.5.301. Epub 2012 Sep 28.

Alcohol consumption and mortality in the Korean Multi-Center Cancer Cohort Study.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



To examine the association between alcohol consumption habit, types of beverages, alcohol consumption quantity, and overall and cancer-specific mortality among Korean adults.


The alcohol consumption information of a total of 16 320 participants who were 20 years or older from the Korean Multi-center Cancer Cohort were analyzed to examine the association between alcohol consumption habit and mortality (median follow-up of 9.3 years). The Cox proportional hazard model was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of alcohol consumption to mortality adjusting for age, sex, geographic areas, education, smoking status, and body mass index.


Alcohol drinkers showed an increased risk for total mortality compared with never drinkers (HR, 1.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38 to 2.14 for past drinkers; HR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.39 for current drinkers), while past drinkers only were associated with higher risk for cancer deaths (HR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.34 to 2.53). The quantity of alcohol consumed per week showed a J-shaped association with risk of mortality. Relative to light drinkers (0.01 to 90 g/wk), never drinkers and heavy drinkers (>504 g/wk) had an increased risk for all-cause and cancer deaths: (HR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.96 to 1.45) and (HR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.83) for all-cause mortality; and (HR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.15 to 2.11) and (HR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.39 to 3.09) for all cancer mortality, respectively. Heavy drinkers (>504 g/wk) showed an elevated risk for death from stomach and liver cancers.


The present study supports the existence of a J-shaped association between alcohol consumption quantity and the risk of all-cause and cancer deaths. Heavy drinkers had an increased risk of death from cancer overall and liver and stomach cancer.


Alcohol drinking; Korea; Korean Multi-center Cancer Cohort; Mortality

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