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Am J Epidemiol. 2016 Jan 15;183(2):110-21. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv170. Epub 2015 Dec 15.

The Association Between Alcohol Consumption and Lung Carcinoma by Histological Subtype.


Alcohol is a carcinogen suspected of increasing lung cancer risk. Therefore, we prospectively evaluated the relationship between alcohol consumption and lung carcinoma in 492,902 persons from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. We used Cox models to calculate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals, adjusting for tobacco smoking and other potential confounders. Between 1995/1996 and December 31, 2006, there were 10,227 incident cases of lung carcinoma, classified as adenocarcinoma (n = 4,036), squamous cell carcinoma (n = 1,998), small cell carcinoma (n = 1,524), undifferentiated carcinoma (n = 559), and other (n = 2,110). Compared with nondrinking, alcohol consumption was associated with a modest nonlinear reduction in total lung carcinoma risk at lower levels of consumption (for 0.5-<1 drink/day, HR = 0.89, 95% confidence interval: 0.82, 0.96) but a modest increase in risk in the highest category (for ≥7 drinks/day, HR = 1.11, 95% confidence interval: 1.00, 1.24). Regarding histological type, alcohol was associated with a nonlinear reduction in squamous cell carcinoma that became attenuated as consumption increased and a modest increase in adenocarcinoma among heavier drinkers. Cubic spline models confirmed these findings. Our data suggest that the relationship between alcohol consumption and lung carcinoma differs by histological subtype.


alcohol consumption; cohort studies; lung cancer

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