Circulating Metabolites Associated with Alcohol Intake in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Cohort

Eline H. van Roekel, Laura Trijsburg, Nada Assi, Marion Carayol, David Achaintre, Neil Murphy, Sabina Rinaldi, Julie A. Schmidt, Magdalena Stepien, Rudolf Kaaks, Tilman Kuhn, Heiner Boeing, Khalid Iqbal, Domenico Palli, Vittorio Krogh, Rosario Tumino, Fulvio Ricceri, Salvatore Panico, Petra H. Peeters, Bas Bueno-de-MesquitaEva Ardanaz, Leila Lujan-Barroso, J. Quiros, Jose M. Huerta, Elena Molina-Portillo, Miren Dorronsoro, Konstantinos K. Tsilidis, Elio Riboli, Agnetha Linn Rostgaard-Hansen, Anne Tjonneland, Kim Overvad, Elisabete Weiderpass, Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault, Gianluca Severi, Antonia Trichopoulou, Anna Karakatsani, Anastasia Kotanidou, Anders Hakansson, Johan Malm, Matty P. Weijenberg, Marc J. Gunter, Mazda Jenab, Mattias Johansson, Ruth C. Travis, Augustin Scalbert, Pietro Ferrari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 AbsoluteIDQTM p180 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 with metabolite 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 72 metabolites 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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number654
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2018


  • alcohol
  • targeted metabolomics
  • lipid metabolites
  • amino acids
  • acylcarnitines
  • RISK
  • ACID
  • Life Style
  • Prospective Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Smoking/adverse effects
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Biotransformation
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Female
  • Nutritional Status
  • Alcohol Drinking/adverse effects
  • Europe
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors
  • Aged
  • Lipids/blood
  • Metabolomics/methods
  • Neoplasms/blood


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