Drinking red wine does not increase
the risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a new
study reported by Wine Spectator. However, the researchers
found that red wine does not appear to offer any significant
protection against the disease either. Light consumption
of red wine appeared to lower risk, but results were inconsistent
as consumption increased.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed
form of cancer among men living in the United States
"Red-wine consumption is unlikely
to contribute appreciably to the cause of prostate cancer,"
wrote the authors of the study, a collaboration among researchers
at Johns Hopkins Department of Epidemiology and the Harvard
School of Public Health. Their work, which will be published
in the April 1 issue of the International Journal of
Cancer , may cast doubt on earlier findings on wine
consumption and prostate cancer.
Prior research on prostate-cancer risk
tended to focus on the impact of alcohol consumption overall,
generally finding that the risk of cancer decreases along
with consumption, but only up to moderate levels, and risk
increases dramatically as consumption rises to heavy intake.
But few studies examined wine separately from other beverages.
Among those that did, some found that red wine had a protective
effect: One study of cancer patients indicated that risk
was reduced by half for some categories of red-wine drinkers
but not for beer or spirits drinkers. Another lab study
suggested that resveratrol, a chemical found in abundance
in red wine, may help to turn off the genes associated with
For the current study, the researchers
collected data on 45,433 of the more than 50,000 participants
in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), a Harvard-based
examination of men's health and how diet relates to the
incidence of serious illnesses. During the course of the
HPFS, from 1986 to 2002, men working in several medical
fields provided information on their eating, smoking and
drinking habits, including the type of alcohol they preferred.
During the study, 3,348 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed
among the 45,433 subjects chosen (those who were excluded
had incomplete food and drink data or had been previously
diagnosed with cancer).
The scientists found no "linear trend"
when comparing the men's red-wine consumption habits and
their rates of several forms of prostate cancer. The results
were similar for beer drinkers and liquor drinkers, when
their habits were examined separately.
Light consumption appeared to show a benefit
since men who drank the smallest amounts of red wine had
the lowest chances of developing prostate cancer. Those
who drank one to three glasses per month had a 9 percent
lower risk than all non drinkers and other drinkers, those
who had one glass per week had an 11 percent lower risk,
and men who drank two to four glasses per week also had
a 9 percent lower risk.
At higher consumption levels, the patterns
of risk became inconsistent. Men who drank five to seven
glasses per week showed a 12 percent increase in risk when
compared to men who drink (but not red wine), as well as
abstainers. But men who drank more than a glass a day showed
only a 6 percent greater risk of prostate cancer.
Because the risk levels rose and fell as
red-wine consumption increased, the researchers concluded
that red-wine consumption has no correlation with prostate-cancer
risk. "This pattern of association is difficult to
explain biologically because protective levels of red-wine
polyphenols, such as resveratrol, catechin and quercetin,
would be much more likely to accumulate at higher levels
of consumption than at levels as low as one to three glasses
per month," the authors wrote.
"Based on the large number of epidemiologic
studies conducted to date," said lead author Siobhan
Sutcliffe, a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Epidemiology
at Johns Hopkins, "we do not recommend any changes
in alcohol consumption for prostate-cancer prevention."
Details on http://www.winespectator.com