More frequent alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of death from prostate cancer (PCa) and other malignancies, according to researchers.

Men who consumed three or more alcoholic drinks per week had a 55% increased risk of PCa mortality compared with those who had fewer that one alcoholic drink per week, according to a recent report in the American Journal of Epidemiology (published online ahead of print).

In a study of data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), researchers observed that alcohol consumption had gender-specific effects for all-site cancer mortality. A higher quantity of alcohol consumption (three or more drinks on drinking days vs. one drink on drinking days) was associated with a 24% increased risk in men, whereas higher frequency (three or more drinking days in a week vs. fewer than one drinking day per week) was associated with a 32% increased risk in women.

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Higher-quantity drinking was associated with a 93% increased risk of colorectal cancer mortality for women. Higher-frequency drinking was associated with a 44% increased risk of breast cancer mortality. The association between lung cancer mortality and alcohol consumption was similar to that of all-site mortality.

The authors, led by Rosalind A. Breslow, MD, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Md., concluded that their study “reinforces the importance of considering alcohol quantity and frequency in studies on cancer mortality. Effects of quantity and frequency should be considered separately according to cancer site.”