Study: Alcohol May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk

Alcohol May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk, New Study Reveals

A new meta-analysis of 27 studies suggests that consumption of alcohol may increase the risk of prostate cancer (PDF). The analysis also shows that the more alcohol people use, the bigger the risk becomes.


Research on a possible causal association between alcohol use and prostate cancer risk is inconclusive. Recent studies on associations between alcohol intake and other health outcomes suggest these are influenced by alcohol user misclassification errors and other study quality characteristics. The influence of these factors on estimates of the relationship between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer has not been previously investigated.

Key finding

The researchers conclude:

Our study finds, for the first time, a significant dose–response relationship between level of alcohol intake and risk of prostate cancer starting with low volume consumption.

Given the high prevalence of prostate cancer in the developed world, the public health implications of these findings are significant. Prostate cancer may need to be incorporated into future estimates of the burden of disease alongside other cancers (e.g. breast, oesophagus, colon, liver) and be integrated into public health strategies for reducing alcohol related disease.”

In their meta study “Is alcohol consumption a risk factor for prostate cancer? A systematic review and meta–analysis”, researchers Zhao, Stockwell, Roemer, and Chikritzhs noted that even low levels of alcohol use are associated with an 8 to 23% greater risk of developing prostate cancer compared to not using alcohol at all. The study was first published online Nov. 15 in the journal BMC Cancer.

This new study contributes to strengthening the evidence that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer. Alcohol’s contribution to prostate cancer will need to be factored into future estimates of the global burden of disease,” study co-author Tim Stockwell said.


This study underlines research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health back in 2001. Researchers had concluded that the consumption alcohol were associated with higher risks of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in men around the world.


Zhao J, Stockwell T, Roemer A, Chikritzhs T. Is alcohol consumption a risk factor for prostate cancer? A systematic review and meta–analysis. BMC Cancer. 2016;16:845. doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2891-z.


Source Website: National Institute of Health