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Alcohol Intake and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer

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Key Points

  • Cancer-free men who consumed vs did not consume alcohol had a slightly reduced risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.
  • Among patients with prostate cancer, red wine intake was associated with lower risk of lethal disease.  

As reported by Downer et al in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, findings from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study indicate that moderate alcohol consumption is safe for patients with prostate cancer.

Study Details

The prospective cohort study used data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 to 2012. Analysis of alcohol intake among men at risk of prostate cancer included 47,568 men without cancer and 5,182 men diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer during follow-up.

Alcohol and Risk

Men without cancer who drank any vs no alcohol had reduced risk of developing lethal prostate cancer during follow-up (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.71–0.99), with no dose-response relationship being observed. Total alcohol intake among patients with prostate cancer was not associated with progression to lethal prostate cancer (HR = 0.99 for any vs none, 95% CI = 0.57–1.72); red wine intake was associated with a lower risk of progression to lethal disease (HR for any vs none = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.29–0.86). Intake of 15–30 g per day of total alcohol after prostate cancer diagnosis was associated with lower risk of death vs no intake (HR = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.50–1.00), as was any vs no red wine intake (HR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.57–0.97; P trend = .007).

The investigators concluded, “Cancer-free men who consumed alcohol had a slightly lower risk of lethal prostate cancer compared with abstainers. Among men with prostate cancer, red wine was associated with a lower risk of progression to lethal disease. These observed associations merit additional study but provide assurance that moderate alcohol consumption is safe for patients with prostate cancer.”

Mary K. Downer, PhD, SM, of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is the corresponding author for the Journal of Clinical Oncology article.

Disclosure: The study was supported by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and National Cancer Institute grants. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit jco.ascopubs.org.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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