SEATTLE Drinking a glass of red wine a day may cut a man's risk of prostate cancer in half, and the protective effect appears to be strongest against the most aggressive forms of the disease, according to a new study led by investigators at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
The findings, by Janet L. Stanford, Ph.D., and colleagues in Fred Hutchinson's Public Health Sciences Division, appear online in The International Journal of Cancer.
"We found that men who consumed four or more glasses of red wine per week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 50 percent," Stanford said. "Among men who consumed four or more 4-ounce glasses of red wine per week, we saw about a 60 percent lower incidence of the more aggressive types of prostate cancer," said Stanford, senior author of the study. "The more clinically aggressive prostate cancer is where the strongest reduction in risk was observed."
Stanford and colleagues found no significant effects positive nor negative associated with the consumption of beer or hard liquor and no consistent risk reduction with white wine, which suggests that there must be a beneficial compound in red wine that other types of alcohol lack. That compound, Stanford and colleagues believe, may be an antioxidant called resveratrol, which is abundant in the skins of red grapes but much less so in the skins of white grapes. The compound is also found in peanuts and raspberries and is available as a dietary supplement, which has been suggested to protect against cardiovascular disease.
Laboratory studies indicate that resveratrol influences a variety of biological pathways that are important in cancer development. For example:
- As an antioxidant, it helps sweep dangerous, cancer-causing free radicals from the body.
- As a potent anti-inflammatory agent, it blocks certain enzymes that promote tumor development.
- The compound also reduces cell proliferation, curtailing the number of cell divisions th
Contact: Kristen Lidke Woodward
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