Researchers did not find the association among women, possibly due to the lower proportion of women who reported heavy or binge drinking, U.S. researchers suggest.
Lead author Dr. Samir Gupta, assistant professor of internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who conducted the research while at the University of California, San Francisco, finds men who drank alcohol increased their risk of pancreatic cancer by 1.5 to 6 times compared with those who didn't drink alcohol or who had less than one drink per month.
For the use of the study, the researchers defined one drink as one can, bottle or 12 ounces of beer; a 4-ounce glass of wine; or one shot of liquor. The heaviest drinkers consumed 21 to 35 drinks per week, while binge drinking was defined as five or more drinks in one episode.
The study did not find a pancreatic cancer/alcohol link in women, perhaps because they often drink fewer drinks compared to men, Gupta says.
"Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, so any risk factor that can be identified and addressed may save lives," Gupta says. "Our research found that large and frequent amounts of alcohol consumption may be risk factors for pancreatic cancer."
The findings are published online in Cancer Causes and Control.