Newswise — Bethesda, Maryland, (April 22, 2014) – The rate of developing esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) nearly doubles in those who both smoke and drink compared to those who only smoke or drink, according to new research published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Although multiple studies have identified risk factors for the development of ESCC, notably, exposure to alcohol and tobacco, this research is the first meta-analysis to look at the interaction between alcohol and tobacco in the risk of ESCC, a class of esophageal cancer that begins in the flat cells lining the esophagus.

“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.

Dr. Prabhu, and authors Drs. Kenneth O. Obi and Joel H. Rubenstein at the University of Michigan Medical School, performed a systematic literature search in multiple electronic databases and looked at population-based case-control or cohort studies of ESCC that assessed the effects of tobaccos and/or alcohol. A synergy factor was calculated from each study to estimate the interaction on a multiplicative scale between tobacco and alcohol on the outcome of ESCC.

“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,” stated Dr. Prabhu.

According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated in 2014 there will be over 18,000 new cases of esophageal cancer in the United States, and over 15,000 deaths from the disease. To learn more about esophageal cancer, visit ACG’s Patient Center:

About the American College of GastroenterologyFounded in 1932, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) is an organization with an international membership of more than 12,000 individuals from 80 countries. The College's vision is to be the pre-eminent professional organization that champions the evolving needs of clinicians in the delivery of high quality, evidence-based, and compassionate health care to gastroenterology patients. The mission of the College is to advance world-class care for patients with gastrointestinal disorders through excellence, innovation and advocacy in the areas of scientific investigation, education, prevention and treatment.

About The American Journal of GastroenterologyThe American Journal of Gastroenterology is published on behalf of the American College of Gastroenterology by Nature Publishing Group. As the leading clinical journal covering gastroenterology and hepatology, The American Journal of Gastroenterology provides practical and professional support for clinicians dealing with the gastroenterological disorders seen most often in patients. Published with practicing clinicians in mind, AJG devotes itself to publishing timely medical research in gastroenterology and hepatology. The Co-Editors-in-Chief are William D. Chey, MD, AGAF, FACG, FACP of the University of Michigan and Paul Moayyedi, BSc, MB ChB, PhD, MPH, FRCP, FRCPC, FACG of McMaster University.# # #

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