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PLoS One. 2016 Mar 11;11(3):e0150962. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150962. eCollection 2016.

Alcohol Consumption-Related Metabolites in Relation to Colorectal Cancer and Adenoma: Two Case-Control Studies Using Serum Biomarkers.

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Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America.
Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.
Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St. Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, United Kingdom.


Alcohol is a known carcinogen that may be associated with colorectal cancer. However, most epidemiologic studies assess alcoholic beverage consumption using self-reported data, leading to potential exposure misclassification. Biomarkers of alcohol consumption may provide an alternative, complementary approach that reduces misclassification and incorporates individual differences in alcohol metabolism. Therefore, we evaluated the relationship between previously identified alcohol consumption-related metabolites and colorectal cancer and adenoma using serum metabolomics data from two studies. Data on colorectal cancer were obtained from a nested case-control study of 502 US adults (252 cases, 250 controls) within the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Data on colorectal adenoma were obtained from a case-control study of 197 US adults (120 cases, 77 controls) from the Navy Colon Adenoma Study. Unconditional multivariable logistic regression models were fit to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for eight alcohol consumption-related metabolites identified in a previous analysis: ethyl glucuronide; 4-androstene-3beta,17beta-diol disulfate 1; 5-alpha-androstan-3beta,17beta-diol disulfate; 16-hydroxypalmitate; bilirubin (E,Z or Z,E); cyclo (-leu-pro); dihomo-linoleate (20:2n6); and palmitoleate (16:1n7). We found no clear association between these alcohol consumption-related metabolites and either endpoint. However, we did observe an inverse association between cyclo (-leu-pro) and colorectal adenoma that was only observed in the highest metabolite quantile (OR 4th vs. 1st Quantile = 0.30, 95% CI: 0.12-0.78; P-trend = 0.047), but no association for colorectal cancer. In conclusion, there were no adverse associations between alcohol consumption-related metabolites and colorectal cancer or adenoma.

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