Recovery from anemia and leukocytopenia after abstinence in Japanese alcoholic men and their genetic polymorphisms of alcohol dehydrogenase-1B and aldehyde dehydrogenase-2

Akira Yokoyama, Philip J. Brooks, Tetsuji Yokoyama, Takeshi Mizukami, Shunsuke Shiba, Nobuhiro Nakamoto, Katsuya Maruyama

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Background: The combination of the fast-metabolizing alcohol dehydrogenase-1B (ADH1B*2 allele) and inactive heterozygous aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2*1/*2) increases susceptibility to macrocytic anemia and leukocytopenia in alcoholics due to severe acetaldehydemia. More than half of Japanese drinkers with esophageal cancer have this genotype combination. Methods: To assess the recovery of hematologic abnormalities after drinking cessation, changes in blood erythrocyte indices and leukocyte count during 8-week hospital stay were evaluated in 925 Japanese alcoholic men. We used four categories in ascending order for high blood acetaldehyde exposure from drinking: A, ADH1B*1/*1 plus ALDH2*1/*1; B, ADH1B*2 plus ALDH2*1/*1; C, ADH1B*1/*1 plus ALDH2*1/*2; and D, ADH1B*2 plus ALDH2*1/*2. Results: Mean values of hemoglobin and hematocrit were the lowest, and those of mean corpuscular volume (MCV) were markedly the highest in the D group on admission, and returning toward normal after abstinence, but the inter-group differences remained significant throughout the 8 weeks. The mean leukocyte count was the lowest in the D group on admission, but increased during 4-week abstinence when the inter-group differences were no longer significant. Frequencies of MCV ≥110 fl (50.5%), hemoglobin levels < 11.5 g/dL (32.7%), hemoglobin levels < 10.0 g/dL (9.9%) and leukocytopenia < 4000/μL (22.8%) were the highest in the D group on the admission day and decreased at the 4-week abstinence (28.7%, 18.8%, 4.0% and 7.9%, respectively). The inter-group differences in frequencies of the severe anemia and leukocytopenia disappeared after 4-week abstinence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-312
Number of pages7
JournalJapanese Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Alcohol dehydrogenase-1B
  • Aldehyde dehydrogenase-2
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Leukocyte
  • Macrocytic anemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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