Circulating metabolites associated with alcohol intake in the european prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition cohort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Identifying the metabolites associated with alcohol consumption may provide insights into the metabolic pathways through which alcohol may affect human health. We studied associations of alcohol consumption with circulating concentrations of 123 metabolites among 2974 healthy participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Alcohol consumption at recruitment was self-reported through dietary questionnaires. Metabolite concentrations were measured by tandem mass spectrometry (BIOCRATES AbsoluteIDQTMp180 kit). Data were randomly divided into discovery (2/3) and replication (1/3) sets. Multivariable linear regression models were used to evaluate confounder-adjusted associations of alcohol consumption withmetabolite concentrations. Metabolites significantly related to alcohol intake in the discovery set (FDR q-value < 0.05) were further tested in the replication set (Bonferroni-corrected p-value < 0.05). Of the 72metabolites significantly related to alcohol intake in the discovery set, 34 were also significant in the replication analysis, including three acylcarnitines, the amino acid citrulline, four lysophosphatidylcholines, 13 diacylphosphatidylcholines, seven acyl-alkylphosphatidylcholines, and six sphingomyelins. Our results confirmed earlier findings that alcohol consumption was associated with several lipid metabolites, and possibly also with specific acylcarnitines and amino acids. This provides further leads for future research studies aiming at elucidating the mechanisms underlying the effects of alcohol in relation to morbid conditions.


  • Eline H. van Roekel
  • Laura Trijsburg
  • Nada Assi
  • Marion Carayol
  • David Achaintre
  • Neil Murphy
  • Sabina Rinaldi
  • Julie A. Schmidt
  • Magdalena Stepien
  • Rudolf Kaaks
  • Tilman Kühn
  • Heiner Boeing
  • Khalid Iqbal
  • Domenico Palli
  • Vittorio Krogh
  • Rosario Tumino
  • Fulvio Ricceri
  • Salvatore Panico
  • Petra H. Peeters
  • Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita
  • Eva Ardanaz
  • Leila Lujan-Barroso
  • J. Ramón Quirós
  • José M. Huerta
  • Elena Molina-Portillo
  • Miren Dorronsoro
  • Konstantinos K. Tsilidis
  • Elio Riboli
  • Agnetha Linn Rostgaard-Hansen
  • Anne Tjønneland
  • Kim Overvad
  • Elisabete Weiderpass
  • Marie Christine Boutron-Ruault
  • Gianluca Severi
  • Antonia Trichopoulou
  • Anna Karakatsani
  • Anastasia Kotanidou
  • Anders Håkansson
  • Matty P. Weijenberg
  • Marc J. Gunter
  • Mazda Jenab
  • Mattias Johansson
  • Ruth C. Travis
  • Augustin Scalbert
  • Pietro Ferrari
External organisations
  • Maastricht University
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization
  • University of Oxford
  • German Cancer Research Centre
  • German Institute of Human Nutrition
  • Cancer Research and Prevention Institute (ISPO)
  • Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori
  • University of Turin
  • University of Naples Federico II
  • University Medical Center Utrecht
  • National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Malaya
  • Health Research Institute of Navarra (IDISNA)
  • University of Granada
  • University of Ioannina
  • Danish Cancer Society Research Center
  • Aarhus University
  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø
  • Cancer Registry of Norway Institute of Population-Based Cancer Research
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Folkhälsan Research Center
  • University of Melbourne
  • Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Montpellier Cancer Institute
  • Paul Valéry University of Montpellier
  • Civic and M.P Arezzo Hospital
  • Azienda Sanitaria Locale Torino 3
  • Catalan Institute of Oncology
  • Public Health Directorate
  • Murcia Regional Health Council
  • Biodonostia Health Research Institute
  • Aalborg University Hospital
  • University of Paris-Saclay
  • Institut Gustave Roussy
  • CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Acylcarnitines, Alcohol, Amino acids, Lipid metabolites, Targeted metabolomics
Original languageEnglish
Article number654
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 22
Publication categoryResearch