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Alcohol-related cancers and genetic susceptibility in Europe: the ARCAGE project: study samples and data collection.(2009-02)Cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) include those of the oral cavity, pharynx (other than nasopharynx), larynx, and esophagus. Tobacco smoking and consumption of alcoholic beverages are established causes of UADT cancers, whereas reduced intake of vegetables and fruits are likely causes. The role of genetic predisposition and possible interactions of genetic with exogenous factors, however, have not been adequately studied. Moreover, the role of pattern of smoking and drinking, as well as the exact nature of the implicated dietary variables, has not been clarified. To address these issues, the International Agency for Research on Cancer initiated in 2002 the alcohol-related cancers and genetic susceptibility (ARCAGE) in Europe project, with the participation of 15 centers in 11 European countries. Information and biological data from a total of 2304 cases and 2227 controls have been collected and will be used in a series of analyses. A total of 166 single nucleotide polymorphisms of 76 genes are being studied for genetic associations with UADT cancers. We report here the methodology of the ARCAGE project, main demographic and lifestyle characteristics of the cases and controls, as well as the distribution of cases by histology and subsite. About 80% of cases were males and fewer than 20% of all cases occurred before the age of 50 years. Overall, the most common subsite was larynx, followed by oral cavity, oropharynx, esophagus and hypopharynx. Close to 90% of UADT cancers were squamous cell carcinomas. A clear preponderance of smokers and alcohol drinkers among UADT cases compared with controls was observed.