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Health Agencies Update
September 28, 2005

Alcohol and Cancer

JAMA. 2005;294(12):1481. doi:10.1001/jama.294.12.1481-c

A study conducted by scientists from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute of Standards and Technology provides new information on the known link between drinking alcoholic beverages and increased risk of upper gastrointestinal tract cancer and other types of cancer (Theruvathu et al. Nucleic Acids Res. 2005;33:3513-3520).

Researchers studying a potential link between alcohol and cancer have focused on acetaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen that is the first metabolite formed as the body breaks down alcohol. The new report indicates that polyamines, natural compounds involved in cell growth, interact with acetaldehyde and trigger reactions that damage DNA, a scenario that can lead to the development of cancer.

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