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Alcohol not implicated in prostate cancer risk
It has been suggested by some experimental human studies that alcohol effects serum levels of sex hormones and specifically increases metabolic clearance of plasma testosterone. Sex hormones have been implicated in the development of the prostate gland and appear to be a precondition for the development of prostate cancer. It has been hypothesised that alcohol has a protective effect on prostate carcinogens; this assumption has been contraindicated by the findings of other epidemiological studies.

The aim of this study by Albersten K and Gronbaek M., was to analyses whether alcohol use is a risk factor for the development of prostate cancer and whether any such relationship depends on beverage type. The relationships of drinking level and beverage type risk of prostate cancer were studied in a pooled prospective setting conducted from 1976-1994 in Copenhagen, Denmark. There were 12,989 subjects aged 20-98 and were drawn from the male participants of 3 different cohorts (Copenhagen City Heart Study, Copenhagen Male Study, Copenhagen County Centre Of Preventive Medicine). Weekly use for beer, spirits and wine were separately ascertained. A total of 233 subjects developed prostate cancer during a mean follow-up of 12.3 years.

None of the prostate cancer risk estimates for total drinking level diverged significantly from the unity, with adjusted relative risk ranging from 0.66 for >41 drinks to 0.93 for 21-41 drinks weekly (P= 0.48 for trend). Relative to non drinkers of a specific beverage drinkers of more than 13 beers weekly had a RR of 1.03 (95% CI 0.67 - 1.60), drinkers of more than 13 glasses of wine weekly had a RR of 0.92 (95% CI 0.42 - 1.99(, and drinkers of more than 13 drinks of spirits weekly had a RR of 1.01 (95% CI 0.52 -1.98).

Neither drinking level nor alcoholic beverages were indicated by the results to be a risk factor for the development of prostate cancer. The conclusion also holds for heavy drinkers and therefore contradicts the suggested beneficial effect of the alcohol-induced decrease in plasma testosterone levels.

Source. Albersten K, Gronbaek M. Does amount or type of alcohol influence the risk of prostate cancer? Prostate 52 (2002) 297-304

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