Potential mechanism for Calvados-related oesophageal cancer

University of Helsinki, Research Unit of Substance Abuse Medicine, Helsinki 00014, Finland.
Food and Chemical Toxicology (Impact Factor: 2.9). 02/2008; 46(2):476-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2007.08.019
Source: PubMed


The old Normandian habit of consumption of hot Calvados is associated with an increased risk of oesophageal cancer compared to other alcoholic beverages. The role of alcohol consumption in the risk of oesophageal cancer is well established. The first metabolite of alcohol, acetaldehyde is a potential local carcinogen in humans. Accordingly, different acetaldehyde concentrations in different beverages could account for some of the variations in cancer risk with regard to the type of alcoholic beverage. Eighteen samples of farm-made Calvados were collected in Normandy. Samples of commercially available beverages were purchased, including factory-made Calvados, other spirits, wines, beer and cider. The samples were analysed gas-chromatically for acetaldehyde and ethanol concentrations. All results are expressed as mean+/-SD. The mean acetaldehyde concentration of all Calvados samples (1781+/-861 microM, n =25) differed highly significantly (p<0.001) from that of all wine samples (275+/-236 microM), from all other spirits samples (1251+/-1155 microM, p<0.05), and from all beer and cider samples (233+/-281 microM, p<0.001). Farm-made Calvados and farm-made cognac had the highest mean acetaldehyde concentration of the measured beverages. The high concentration of acetaldehyde combined with possible effects of the high temperature at which Calvados is consumed could account for the increased risk of Calvados-related oesophageal cancer.

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    • "Salaspuro recently summarized all of this evidence and estimated that the mutagenic amount of acetaldehyde in saliva falls between 50 and 150 μM [46]. Linderborg et al. [31] indicated that the oral and upper digestive tract mucosa is exposed to a much higher acetaldehyde concentration after ingestion of calvados (i.e., 20-50 times higher than those considered to be mutagenic), which is consistent with our results. "
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    ABSTRACT: An increasing body of evidence now implicates acetaldehyde as a major underlying factor for the carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverages and especially for oesophageal and oral cancer. Acetaldehyde associated with alcohol consumption is regarded as 'carcinogenic to humans' (IARC Group 1), with sufficient evidence available for the oesophagus, head and neck as sites of carcinogenicity. At present, research into the mechanistic aspects of acetaldehyde-related oral cancer has been focused on salivary acetaldehyde that is formed either from ethanol metabolism in the epithelia or from microbial oxidation of ethanol by the oral microflora. This study was conducted to evaluate the role of the acetaldehyde that is found as a component of alcoholic beverages as an additional factor in the aetiology of oral cancer. Salivary acetaldehyde levels were determined in the context of sensory analysis of different alcoholic beverages (beer, cider, wine, sherry, vodka, calvados, grape marc spirit, tequila, cherry spirit), without swallowing, to exclude systemic ethanol metabolism. The rinsing of the mouth for 30 seconds with an alcoholic beverage is able to increase salivary acetaldehyde above levels previously judged to be carcinogenic in vitro, with levels up to 1000 μM in cases of beverages with extreme acetaldehyde content. In general, the highest salivary acetaldehyde concentration was found in all cases in the saliva 30 sec after using the beverages (average 353 μM). The average concentration then decreased at the 2-min (156 μM), 5-min (76 μM) and 10-min (40 μM) sampling points. The salivary acetaldehyde concentration depends primarily on the direct ingestion of acetaldehyde contained in the beverages at the 30-sec sampling, while the influence of the metabolic formation from ethanol becomes the major factor at the 2-min sampling point. This study offers a plausible mechanism to explain the increased risk for oral cancer associated with high acetaldehyde concentrations in certain beverages.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research
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    • "Limited epidemiological evidence [92] [93]. Margin of Exposure in Health Relevant Ranges [90]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This contribution aims to examine systematically the evidence on the impact of the quality of unrecorded alcohol products on health consequences. Systematic computer assisted review of the literature. There are a number of pathways related to alcohol quality that may lead to acute or chronic health problems. The following constituents and contaminants of alcoholic beverages were identified as likely contributors to these problems: (i) toxic metals (e.g. lead) from contaminated water sources or unsuitable distillation equipment; (ii) volatile constituents, such as acetaldehyde or higher alcohols, which may be produced in significant amounts due to faults in production technology or microbiological spoilage; (iii) ethyl carbamate (urethane), a carcinogenic contaminant with major occurrence in certain fruit and sugarcane spirits; (iv) biologically active flavour compounds (e.g. coumarin in cosmetics used as non-beverage alcohol); (v) toxic compounds used to denature alcohol (e.g. methanol or diethyl phthalate). In addition, the often higher ethanol content may have detrimental health effects. These pathways should not be assumed as present for all subcategories of unrecorded alcohol, but are more relevant to certain types and geographic regions. A health impact of unrecorded alcohol over and above the effect of ethanol cannot be excluded. More research is urgently needed, especially with respect to liver disease and alcohol poisoning as endpoints. A feasible approach for new research on the effects of unrecorded alcohol could be based on a representative sample from low socioeconomic regions with high prevalence of unrecorded consumption.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2010 · Drug and Alcohol Review
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    • "Very high concentrations of acetaldehyde in alcoholic beverages — such as those observed in the spirits from Guatemala — can cause salivary acetaldehyde concentration levels considered potentially carcinogenic (Lachenmeier and Sohnius, 2008). Furthermore, recent evidence points to an association between acetaldehyde and increased risk of oesophageal cancer in humans (Linderborg et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: There is a lack of knowledge regarding the composition, production, distribution, and consumption of artisanal alcohol, particularly in the developing world. In Nahualá, an indigenous Mayan municipality located in highland Guatemala, heavy alcohol consumption appears to have had a significant negative impact on health, a major role in cases of violence and domestic abuse, and a link to street habitation. Cuxa, an artisanally, as well as commercially produced sugarcane alcohol, is widely consumed by heavy drinkers in this community. Cuxa samples from all distribution points in the community were obtained and chemically analyzed for health-relevant constituents and contaminants including methanol, acetaldehyde, higher alcohols, and metals. From those, only acetaldehyde was confirmed to be present in unusually high levels (up to 126 g/hl of pure alcohol), particularly in samples that were produced clandestinely. Acetaldehyde has been evaluated as "possibly carcinogenic" and has also been identified as having significant human exposure in a recent risk assessment. This study explores the reasons for the elevated levels of acetaldehyde, through both sampling and analyses of raw and intermediary products of cuxa production, as well as interviews from producers of the clandestine alcohol. For further insight, we experimentally produced this alcohol in our laboratory, based on the directions provided by the producers, as well as materials from the town itself. Based on these data, the origin of the acetaldehyde contamination appears to be due to chemical changes induced during processing, with the major causative factors consisting of poor hygiene, aerobic working conditions, and inadequate yeast strains, compounded by flawed distillation methodology that neglects separation of the first fractions of the distillate. These results indicate a preventable public health concern for consumers, which can be overcome through education about good manufacturing practices, as well as financial incentives to separate the acetaldehyde-rich fractions during distillation.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · Science of The Total Environment
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