Medline: 8651231

American Journal of Epidemiology 143(7): 692-697, 1996.

Alcohol use and prostate cancer risk in US blacks and whites.

Hayes RB, Brown LM, Schoenberg JB, et al.


Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy in US men (more than 165,000 cases per annum) and occurs substantially more frequently in blacks than in whites. The causes of this disease are, however, poorly understood. Alcohol consumption, which has been clearly related to malignancies of the upper aerodigestive tract, may also increase risk of cancer at other sites, including the prostate. The authors investigated alcohol use as a risk factor for prostate cancer among US blacks and whites. A population-based, case-control study was carried out among 981 men (479 blacks and 502 whites) with pathologically confirmed prostate cancer diagnosed between August 1, 1986, and April 30, 1989, and 1,315 controls (594 blacks and 721 whites) who resided in Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; and 10 counties in New Jersey, geographic areas covered by three population-based cancer registries. In-person interviews elicited information on alcohol use and other factors possibly related to prostate cancer. Compared with never-users, risk for prostate cancer increased with amount of alcohol drunk (chi2 (trend), p < 0.001), with significantly elevated risks seen for those who had 22-56 drinks per week (odds ratio = 1.4; 95% confidence interval 1.0-1.8) and 57 or more drinks per week (odds ratio = 1.9; 95% confidence interval 1.3-2.7). The finding was consistent among blacks (chi2 (trend), p < 0.01) and whites (chi2 (trend), p < 0.05), and among young and old subjects; it was not restricted to a specific type of alcoholic beverage. In this first large study among US blacks and whites, increased risk for prostate cancer was associated with increased alcohol use. The risk was similar for whites and blacks and could not be attributed to tobacco use or to a number of other potential confounders.

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