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Alcohol types and socioeconomic status are associated with Barrett's esophagus risk
Date:2/28/2009

Bethesda, MD (March 1, 2009) Although the relationship between alcohol and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma is well established, studies investigating the association between alcohol intake and reflux esophagitis (RE), Barrett's esophagus (BE) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) have reported inconsistent findings. Furthermore, little is known regarding the effect of alcohol on BE, especially related to alcohol types.

Two recent studies published in Gastroenterology further our understanding of these illnesses. Gastroenterology is the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

Education Status Is Significantly Inversely Associated with BE Risk

A new diagnosis of BE is associated with alcohol types, and the effects are modified by the presence of vitamin supplement use, according to a new study in Gastroenterology. The observed associations are independent of demographic and life-style factors that are related to choice of alcoholic beverages, including vitamin supplement use. In addition, higher education level is inversely related to the risk.

People with BE have a 30 to 125 fold increased risk of developing EAC compared to the general population. The incidence of EAC has increased by more than 500 percent in the last three decades, more rapidly than any other malignancy in the U.S. The rate of increase is most predominant among Caucasian males, suggesting that environmental or lifestyle factors may play important roles in the change in incidence.

"The identification of risk factors for BE may provide information on early events in the carcinogenic pathway for EAC that could lead to effective intervention strategies," said Ai Kubo, PhD, of Kaiser Permanente and lead author of the study.

This study is the first community or population-based study in the U.S. to evaluate alcohol and socio-demographic factors as risk factors for BE. Using a case-
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Contact: Alissa Cruz
media@gastro.org
301-272-1603
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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