From the Alcohol WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

Summary of IARC evaluation

• There is sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity (cancer causing chemicals) of alcoholic beverages.

• The occurrence of malignant (death causing) tumours of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, female breast and colorectum (the bottom part of the bowel) is causally related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

• There is evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity in humans for alcoholic beverages and cancer of kidney and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Limited evidence for pancreas.

• There is substantial mechanistic evidence in humans with aldehyde dehydrogenase (a metabolising agent) deficiency that acetaldehyde derived from the metabolism of ethanol in alcoholic beverages contributes to the causation of malignant oesophageal tumours.

• There is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of ethanol.

• There is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of acetaldehyde.

Overall evaluation: Alcoholic beverages are carcinogenic to humans. Ethanol in alcoholic beverages is carcinogenic to humans. Acetaldehyde associated with alcohol consumption is carcinogenic to humans.