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First evidence from humans on how alcohol may boost risk of cancer
Date:8/22/2012

, about 30 percent of people of Asian descent ― almost 1.6 billion people ― have a variant of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene and are unable to metabolize alcohol to acetate. That genetic variant results in an elevated risk of esophageal cancer from alcohol drinking. Native Americans and native Alaskans have a deficiency in the production of that same enzyme.

To test the hypothesis that acetaldehyde causes DNA adducts to form in humans, Balbo and colleagues gave 10 volunteers increasing doses of vodka (comparable to one, two and three drinks) once a week for three weeks. They found that levels of a key DNA adduct increased up to 100-fold in the subjects' oral cells within hours after each dose, then declined about 24 hours later. Adduct levels in blood cells also rose.

"These findings tell us that alcohol, a lifestyle carcinogen, is metabolized into acetaldehyde in the mouth, and acetaldehyde is forming DNA adducts, which are known major players in carcinogenesis," said Balbo.


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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
215-418-2056 (Philadelphia Press Center, Aug. 17-23)
202-872-6042

Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
215-418-2056 (Philadelphia Press Center, Aug. 17-23)
202-872-6293
American Chemical Society


Source:Eurekalert

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