Document Type

Original Report




Introduction: Alcohol use is an independent risk factor for liver metastasis, a major cause of morbidity and mortality in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Serum CEA level is an established prognostic indicator in CRC, yet the correlation with behavioral factors such as alcohol use remains to be defined. In a single-center review, we evaluated alcohol use, gender, and CEA levels in predicting advanced disease in CRC patients.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of UNMC patients diagnosed with CRC as the primary cancer between 2012-2019, stages I-IV, and age >19 with documentation of alcohol use. Univariable statistics were performed using Chi-Square and non-parametric tests. Associations between stage, gender, and alcohol use (some vs. none) and the log-transformed CEA outcome (either initial or rate of change) were assessed using linear regressions.

Results: Alcohol use was found to be reported in 333 of 1243 CRC patients. The cohort was comprised of 192 male and 141 female subjects. Elevated CEA levels at CRC diagnosis were associated with increased all-cause mortality (33.0% for CEA > 3.4ng/ml vs 10.4% for CEA < 3.4ng/ml). Model analysis found that stage IV male alcohol users showed an increase in serial CEA levels compared to males who did not use alcohol, but this pattern was not observed among stage IV females.

Conclusions: Males with a history of alcohol use may be at risk for advanced CRC disease suggesting the utility of serial serum CEA monitoring in these patients. A detailed alcohol use history should be obtained in all patients with CRC as it has prognostic value and may allow for early intervention. This analysis was limited by missing alcohol use data for the majority (73.2%) of CRC patients evaluated. A prospective study is warranted to define the implications of alcohol use and risk of CRC liver metastasis.




colorectal carcinoma, alcohol, colorectal liver metastasis, carcinoembryonic antigen

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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