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Alcohol types and sociodemographic characteristics as risk factors for Barrett’s esophagus

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Little is known about the effects of alcohol use and sociodemographics on the risk of Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal adenocarcinoma. We evaluated the association between alcohol use, alcohol type, sociodemographic profiles, other lifestyle factors, and the risk of Barrett’s esophagus. METHODS: With the use of a case-control study within the Kaiser Permanente Northern California membership, patients with a new diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus (n = 320) diagnosed between 2002 and 2005 were matched to persons with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD; n = 316) and to population controls (n = 317). We collected information using validated questionnaires during direct in-person interviews. Analyses used multivariate unconditional logistic regression. RESULTS: Total alcohol use was not significantly associated with the risk of Barrett’s esophagus, although stratification by beverage type showed an inverse association for wine drinkers compared with nondrinkers (>/=7 drinks of wine per week vs none: odds ratio, 0.44; 95% confidence interval, 0.20-0.99; multivariate analysis). Among population controls, those who preferred wine were more likely to have college degrees and regularly take vitamin supplements than those who preferred beer or liquor, although adjustment for these factors or GERD symptoms did not eliminate the inverse association between wine consumption and Barrett’s esophagus. Education status was significantly inversely associated with the risk of Barrett’s esophagus. CONCLUSIONS: There are associations between alcohol types, socioeconomic status, and the risk of Barrett’s esophagus. Although choice of alcoholic beverages was associated with several factors, multiple adjustments (including for GERD) did not eliminate the association between alcohol and Barrett’s esophagus. Further research to evaluate the associations among socioeconomic status, GERD, and Barrett’s esophagus is warranted.

Authors: Kubo A; Levin TR; Block G; Rumore GJ; Quesenberry CP Jr; Buffler P; Corley DA

Gastroenterology. 2009 Mar;136(3):806-15. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

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