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Heavy Drinking Linked to Higher Prostate Cancer Risk

In presence of heavy drinking, finasteride not effective for lowering risk of prostate cancer

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Heavy alcohol consumption may interfere with finasteride's effectiveness for reducing the risk of prostate cancer, according to research published online July 13 in Cancer.

Zhihong Gong, Ph.D., of the University of California at San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed data from 10,920 men in the seven-year Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, which studied whether finasteride was protective against prostate cancer. Participants self-reported their alcohol intake at baseline.

In both study arms combined, the researchers found that heavy alcohol consumption of at least 50 grams daily was associated with a higher risk of high-grade cancer (relative risk, 2.01). More moderate drinking was not associated with risk. In addition, finasteride was associated with a 43-percent lower risk of low-grade cancer in men who drank less than 50 grams of alcohol daily, but had no effect in those drinking 50 grams or more daily.

"In summary, we observed that heavy drinking was associated with an increased risk of high-grade, screen-detected prostate cancer," the authors write. "We also observed that heavy drinkers did not benefit from finasteride treatment. It would be prudent for physicians who are recommending finasteride for prostate cancer prevention to assess their patients' alcohol consumption and recommend drinking no more than two or three drinks per day."

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