Different impact from betel quid, alcohol and cigarette: risk factors for pharyngeal and laryngeal cancer.Int J Cancer. 2005 Dec 10; 117(5):831-6.IJ
The risks of betel quid chewing with or without tobacco, alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking have been well explored in the oral cavity but not in the pharynx and larynx. We conducted a case-control study to investigate the association of these three risk factors to cancers of the pharynx and larynx in Taiwan. A total cases of 148 pharyngeal cancer, 128 laryngeal cancer and 255 hospital controls, all men, were recruited. Betel quid chewing was a significant independent risk factor (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 7.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.1-15.0) similar to that of alcohol drinking (aOR = 6.6; 95% CI = 3.5-13.0) for pharyngeal cancer, but not for laryngeal cancer (aOR = 1.3; 95% CI = 0.7-2.5) on which cigarette smoking (aOR = 7.1) exerts a stronger significant independent risk than alcohol drinking (aOR = 3.8). For pharyngeal cancers, chewers who consumed >20 quid/day, chewed with inflorescence in the quid or swallowed the betel quid juice were at higher risks; significant dose-response effects were found in daily quantity of drinking and chewing, and cumulative quantity of drinking. Synergistic effects from the 3 risk factors existed both on the pharynx (aOR = 96.9) and the larynx (aOR = 40.3), and attributed for 93.1% and 92.9% respectively. Our study is the first evidence to show that betel quid chewing without tobacco has different impact on the pharynx (digestive tract) and the larynx (airway), and supports the concept that exposure quantity and direct mucosal contact with the betel quid juice may contribute to carcinogenesis. Our results show an important insight into the impact of betel quid chewing on other sites of the digestive tract other than the oral cavity.