Travelers with sensitive stomachs are especially at risk of developing liver cancer after drinking Lysol or other medications taken with alcohol, according to a new study.
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that the risk of liver cancer increases after people drank alcohol or consumed medications that contain lysols.
According to the researchers, the increased risk is due to the lysosomal metabolite, acetate, which is made from acetone and other chemicals.
“A lot of the chemicals in our environment are metabolized into acetate and acetate is metabolized to lysate,” said lead author Elizabeth Geller, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Arizona.
“That’s why you have increased liver damage when you drink these drugs.”
The researchers found that those who drank the highest levels of lysophosphatidylcholine, or PCH, in their blood had the highest risk of getting liver cancer.
PCH is a substance in foods, especially fruits and vegetables, that’s metabolized by the liver to form acetate.”PCH is metabolically active in the liver and is associated with increased cancer risk,” Geller said.
“There’s no question that drinking PCH or alcohol or taking medications with it can lead to liver damage.”
The risk of being diagnosed with liver cancer increased with each additional 1,000 units of PCH consumed.
The study was led by Geller and fellow UA researchers Dr. James R. Brown, MD, and Dr. Jonathan S. Katz, PhD.
The authors of the study noted that the data does not show that PCH causes cancer.
The researchers also did not study whether people who had been diagnosed with the disease were actually receiving PCH.
However, the researchers found the increased liver cancer risk was significant.
“We think this could be due to increased exposure to PCH in people who have not yet developed the disease, which could explain why the risk was higher in those who had not yet been diagnosed,” Gellar said.
The researchers said that they did not find a clear relationship between PCH intake and risk of cancer.
“Our findings suggest that the increase in risk for liver cancer in the elderly and in people with other comorbidities is not due to higher exposure to lydophosphates or other drugs, but to increased PCH consumption and liver damage from PCH,” Gelson said.
“This is because the risk is associated only with increasing PCH use and the liver damage associated with PCH.”
Dr. Elizabeth Katz, MD (left) and Dr Jonathan S Katz, MS (right) of the National Cancer Institute and UA, study a group of people who consumed high levels of PCHR (from a group known as the PCH study group) in their urine and liver.
Geller said that other studies have found a link between PCHR intake and liver cancer, but these were smaller studies and did not examine a wide range of factors, including whether people had liver disease.
The American Cancer Society says that PCHR is “generally recognized as safe” and should be used only as a last resort.
Gellar said that the results of the new study were similar to previous studies.
“The authors say the association is probably stronger for older adults, who might be more vulnerable to liver cancer,” Gollers said.
Gollers is currently studying the liver function of people living in a rural area.