A Possible Risk Factor for High-Grade Prostate Cancer
A recent study examined the correlation between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer. The authors found that drinking more alcohol at a younger age, as well as higher alcohol consumption accumulated across a lifetime, were associated with high-grade prostate cancer diagnoses.
Men in the study who drank at least 7 alcoholic beverages per week when they were teenagers (15-19 years old) were three times more likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer later in life when compared to men who didn’t drink. The study found similar results for ages 20-29, 30-39, and 40-49 years.
Men in the study who drank the most alcohol cumulatively across their lifetime were also three times more likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer.
“The prostate is an organ that grows rapidly during puberty, so it’s potentially more susceptible to carcinogenic exposure during the adolescent years.” – Emma Allott, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
However, current alcohol intake was not associated with prostate cancer. “Our results may explain why previous evidence linking alcohol intake and prostate cancer has been somewhat mixed,” said Emma Allott, PhD, one of the study’s authors. “It’s possible that the effect of alcohol comes from a lifetime intake, or from intake earlier in life rather than alcohol patterns around the time of diagnosis of prostate cancer.”
The study included 650 men, 325 of whom were diagnosed with prostate cancer (238 with low-grade disease and 88 with high-grade disease).
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2018 Oct;11(10):621-628. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-18-0057. Epub 2018 Aug 23.