The researchers ran a number of sensitivity analyses, including:
- Restricting their analyses to participants who reported undergoing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening in 1994 (initial screening) and 1996 (starting follow-up), because more frequent screening reduces the risk of lethal prostate cancer.
- Only never-smokers were included.
- Men who reported having reduced their alcohol consumption in the prior 10 years were also not included.
- Evaluating only alcohol intake on the most recent exposure, rather than cumulative average.
The researchers analyzed data from 47,568 men who were cancer-free and had been followed for a median 25 years. They found that being cancer free and consuming alcohol of any kind was associated with a lower risk of lethal prostate cancer; no dose-response relationship was observed in this group. However, for the 5182 men who developed non-metastatic prostate cancer, red wine after diagnosis was associated with a lower risk of lethal prostate cancer and all-cause mortality; in this group, dose-response relationships were observed for both outcomes. The association of lower risk of lethal prostate cancer and overall mortality in men with prostate cancer was not found with any other alcoholic beverages, only red wine.2
Consuming alcohol, red wine in particular, might deter the progression of prostate cancer for several reasons. Among them, red wine may reduce inflammation while it improves insulin metabolism and antioxidant status.
The researchers concluded that moderate alcohol intake is not associated with a higher risk of lethal prostate cancer. “Our results indicate that moderate alcohol intake
among men with prostate cancer is not associated with a higher risk of progression to lethal disease or overall mortality,” the researchers reported.2 However, red wine has a potential benefit to men with prostate cancer that merits additional research.
- LoConte NK, Brewster AM, Kaur JS, Merrill JK, Alberg AJ. Alcohol and cancer: a statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. J Clin Oncol. 2018;36(1):83-93.
- Downer MK, Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, et al. Alcohol intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. J Clin Oncol. 2019;37(17):1499-1511.
This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor