SAN FRANCISCO—Heavy ethanol intake is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (PCa) among low-risk men with at least one prior negative prostate biopsy, investigators reported here at the annual Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. It also is associated with an elevated risk for high-grade PCa.

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The findings emerged from a study of data from 6,729 men who had at least one on-study bipsy while participating in the REDUCE (Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events) trial. Of these, 49% were moderate drinkers and 26% were heavy drinkers. 

The researchers, led by Lionel L. Bañez, MD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., found that as ethanol intake increased, so did the risk for PCa overall and for high-grade disease. Dutasteride decreased overall PCa risk significantly by 27% and ethanol intake did not interfere with the risk-reducing effect of dutasteride.

Compared with non-drinkers, heavy drinkers had a 21% greater risk of PCa overall and a 34% greater risk of high-grade PCa (Gleason score of 7 or higher).

For the study, the investigators defined ethanol intake in terms of units (half pint of beer, glass of wine, for example). They classified subjects as nondrinkers, moderate drinkers (seven units or less per week), and heavy drinkers (more than seven units per week).

The symposium is cosponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology.