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WASHINGTON, Aug 10, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed a new analysis method that establishes a link between alcohol and cancer.
Researchers said they used a novel chemical assay that uncovered a chain of chemical reactions which, under certain physiological conditions, may lead from alcohol to a known mutagen.
It has been known for years that there is a statistical relationship between excessive alcohol consumption and an increased risk of certain cancers, particularly upper gastrointestinal cancer.
While alcohol itself is not a carcinogen, it's metabolized in the body to form a suspected carcinogen.
The missing link, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the National Institutes of Health, is a class of chemicals called polyamines that are produced in cells and believed to be involved in cell growth.
The team demonstrated the link using a sensitive chemical analysis technique called liquid chromatography/isotope-dilution mass spectrometry developed at NIST.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International.