A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology is the first review study to investigate the combination of both drinking and smoking and pointed out that the risk of developing esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) doubles in those who both smoke and drink compared to those who only smoke or drink.
ESCC is on the rise with estimates of over 18,000 new diagnosed cases in 2014 and 15,000 linked death, based on statistics from the National Cancer Institute.
“Our study suggests that not only do alcohol and tobacco play an important role in the development of esophageal cancer, the combination of their use markedly increases their potency as carcinogens. As a result, we as physicians should focus efforts directed at controlling the burden of esophageal cancer on those who consume both of these substances,” said lead author Anoop Prabhu, MD, Advanced Endoscopy Fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York, NY.
“Our systematic review confirmed the expected exposure-dependent relationship of both alcohol and tobacco with the risk of ESCC, as alcohol use and tobacco use were both independent risk factors for the development of ESCC,” said Dr. Prabhu.
Anoop Prabhu, Kenneth O Obi, Joel H Rubenstein. The Synergistic Effects of Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption on the Risk of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Meta-Analysis. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2014.71