The researchers have not yet been able to clearly identify the mechanism responsible for the greater risk of advanced prostate cancer in heavy beer drinkers specifically.
“We know that acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of ethanol, which is released by alcohol, is a carcinogenic that can promote cancer development by different mechanisms, including interference with DNA replication,” said Karakiewicz.
Other hypotheses point to the possibility that high alcohol consumption can cause folate deficiency (vitamin B) or lead to immunosuppression that may facilitate the spread of tumours.
“These mechanisms should apply regardless of the type of alcoholic beverage consumed,” he explained. “But we also observed a 25% lower risk of prostate cancer in consumers of spirits, so further investigation of these mechanisms is clearly needed.”
The overall findings of this study underscore the importance, in his view, of taking into account alcohol consumption, particularly beer intake, when screening patients for prostate cancer.
Source: University of Montreal