Association between lifetime alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk: A case-control study in Montreal, Canada

Cancer Epidemiol. 2016 Dec;45:11-17. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2016.09.004. Epub 2016 Sep 22.


Background: Alcohol intake may increase the risk of prostate cancer (PCa). Many previous studies harbored important methodological limitations.

Methods: We conducted a population-based case-control study of PCa comprising 1933 cases and 1994 controls in Montreal, Canada. Lifetime alcohol consumption was elicited, by type of beverage, during in-person interviews. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) assessed the association between alcohol intake and PCa risk, adjusting for potential confounders and considering the subjects' PCa screening history.

Results: We observed a weak, non-significant positive association between high consumption of total alcohol over the lifetime and risk of high-grade PCa (OR=1.18, 95% CI 0.81-1.73). Risk estimates were more pronounced among current drinkers (OR=1.40, 95%CI 1.00-1.97), particularly after adjusting for the timing of last PCa screening (OR=1.52, 95%CI 1.07-2.16). These associations were largely driven by beer consumption. The OR for high-grade PCa associated with high beer intake was 1.37 (95%CI 1.00-1.89); it was 1.49 (95%CI 0.99-2.23) among current drinkers and 1.68 (95% CI 1.10-2.57) after adjusting for screening recency. High cumulative consumption of spirits was associated with a lower risk of low-grade PCa (OR=0.75, 95%CI 0.60-0.94) but the risk estimate no longer achieved statistical significance when restricting to current users. No association was found for wine consumption.

Conclusion: Findings add to the accumulating evidence that high alcohol consumption increases the risk of high-grade PCa. This association largely reflected beer intake in our population, and was strengthened when taking into account PCa screening history.

Keywords: Alcohol; Case-control; Etiology; Prostate cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Canada
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors