Alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk: A meta-analysis of observational studies
Background: Many studies investigated the association between alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk, but the results were controversial. We performed a metaanalysis of observational studies to explore the association. Materials and Methods: We searched PubMed to identify the relevant studies that reported the association between alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk up to December 31, 2016. We pooled relative risks (RRs) in random effects model and performed dose-response analysis to quantify the association. Cochran Q test and I2 analyses were used to evaluate the heterogeneity. Meta-regression, subgroup, sensitivity and publication bias analyses were also performed. Results: 75 studies were included in our study. The pooled RR of high vs low total alcohol drinking was 1.25 (95% CI, 1.15-1.37, P < 0.001), and a nonlinear association was further observed. Subgroup analysis showed that alcohol drinking significantly associated with the risk of gastric noncardia cancer (RR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.01-1.40, P = 0.033), but not with the risk of gastric cardia cancer (RR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.98-1.39, P = 0.087). Notably, the pooled RRs of high vs low analyses were 1.13 (95% CI, 1.03-1.24, P = 0.012) for beer drinking, 1.22 (95% CI, 1.06-1.40, P = 0.005) for liquor drinking, and 0.99 (95% CI, 0.84-1.16, P = 0.857) for wine drinking. Conclusions: Our meta-analysis found a nonlinear association between alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk, and heavy drinking level was strongly related to gastric cancer risk. Beer and liquor had significant positive associations with gastric cancer risk, while wine drinking would not increase gastric cancer risk. These results need to be verified in future research.