Alcohol and urinary tract cancer

Is there an association between alcohol consumption and urinary tract cancer?

Results of individual studies investigating the association between alcohol and urinary tract cancer have been mixed. This meta-analysis aims to pool these results and summarise the impact of alcohol consumption on the risk of cancer of the urinary tract.

Message

Based on a few studies with unknown participant numbers, no association was found between alcohol consumption and urinary tract cancer.

Reference

M Zeegers et al. Elevated risk of cancer of the urinary tract for alcohol drinkers: a meta-analysis. Cancer Causes and Control 1999 10: 445-451.

Search

Searches were conducted in MEDLINE and Cancerlit for studies up until April 1999. The bibliographies of relevant papers were then reviewed. To be included, studies had to provide sufficient information for statistical analysis on current alcohol consumers compared with non-drinkers. Studies had to have adjusted for age, gender and smoking.

Out of 30 identified papers, 14 did not meet the inclusion criteria. Of the remaining 16, 13 were case-control studies, three were cohort studies. Eleven selected only bladder carcinomas, four included all neoplasms of the urinary tract and one selected carcinomas of the renal pelvis and ureter. Alcohol consumption was assessed by interview and/or self-administered questionnaires.

Only current total alcohol consumption was examined; there was insufficient information to examine the quantity of alcohol consumed.

Results

There was no association between alcohol consumption and urinary tract cancer for men or women. For men and women (from seven studies) the age, gender and smoking adjusted odds ratio was 1.2, 95% confidence interval 0.9 to 1.7. For men (from six studies), the age and smoking adjusted odds ratio was 1.3, 95% confidence interval 0.9 to 2.0. For women (from four studies) the odds ratio was 1.0, 95% confidence interval 0.6 to 1.7.

Comment

Over half of the studies did not contribute to the analysis because they did not provide sufficient information to adjust the results for age, gender and smoking. Consequently, the results are based on a few studies, with different methodologies and with no information on the number of participants contributing to them.