Alcohol use and the risk of prostate cancer: results from the VITAL cohort study

Nutr Cancer. 2006;56(1):50-6. doi: 10.1207/s15327914nc5601_7.


An association between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk remains uncertain. Although some studies have found that heavy alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk, a recent study reported that red wine consumption is associated with reduced risk. We examined the association between alcohol use and prostate cancer among 34,565 men, 50-76 yr old, in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort in Washington State. Alcohol consumption was ascertained by baseline questionnaire between October 2000 and December 2002. Incident prostate cancers (n = 816) as of December 31, 2004, were identified through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry. Men who consumed more than one drink per month had a small increased risk of prostate cancer (hazard ratio, HR = 1.20; 95% confidence interval, CI = 1.02-1.40) compared with men who drank no alcohol or less than one drink per month. White wine consumption was associated with increased risk (HR for any vs. no white wine consumption = 1.27; CI = 1.08-1.49). Red wine, liquor, and beer were not associated with prostate cancer nor was total alcohol consumed at ages 18, 30, and 45. Associations of alcohol use with prostate cancer are modest and complex. More detailed assessment of specific alcoholic beverages is warranted in future studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Beer
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Washington / epidemiology
  • Wine