Each year there are approximately 80,000 cases and 40,000 deaths of cancer of the upper aero-digestive tract (UADT) in the 15 EU countries, making it the fourth most common cancer in the EU. The proposed study will recruit over 2500 cases of UADT cancers and a group of comparable controls in 9 centres of the EU. It will test specific hypotheses including genetic susceptibility to alcohol metabolisation, patterns of alcohol consumption and types of alcohol beverage, and dietary factors including low consumption of fruits and vegetables. Subsequently, it will investigate why some countries have incidence rates over 4 times greater than other countries. By incorporating information on genetic susceptibility, alcohol, dietary and other lifestyle patterns, the study will aim to identify individuals at a very high risk of developing UADT cancers.
The objectives will be to identify the reasons behind the wide differences in UADT cancers in Europe, including different genetic susceptibility to alcohol metabolisation, different genetic susceptibility to tobacco metabolisation and DNA damage, different patterns of alcohol consumption and types of alcoholic beverage, and interaction between high alcohol consumption and other agents including genetic factors, other dietary factors, and lifestyle factors.
The study will critically test the relationship between alcohol consumption, diet and genetic susceptibility to UADT cancers, and assess the extent to which these factors may be used for identifying individuals at high risk of developing the disease. A database of all dietary information will be established as well as a biological bank of blood and serum samples.