Background: Anecdotal reports from neurosurgeons have suggested that glioblastoma
patients that consumed moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages after glioblastoma surgery presented
with improved vitality.
Objective: This study aimed to investigate if any evidence for these anecdotal reports can be reproduced
experimentally. Furthermore, we studied the effects of different alcoholic beverages on glioblastoma
Methods: GOS-3 glioblastoma cells and PC3 prostate carcinoma cells as control were incubated with
beer, red wine, white wine, vodka, and whiskey at different concentrations. Membrane disruption by
acute cytotoxicity and apoptosis induction was evaluated via Annexin-V-FITC flow cytometry and
confocal laser scanning microscopy. Long-term effects on cell proliferation were studied by the XTT
Results: There was no increased membrane disruption even at physiologically high alcohol concentrations
of 1%. Cell proliferation was significantly inhibited by vodka and beer. Among the wines,
the white wine caused slight proliferation inhibition in GOS-3 glioblastoma cells while inducing
slightly enhanced proliferation in PC3 prostate cancer cells. After these first results, the study was
expanded to more different brands of vodka and additional white and red wines from different
grapes. While confirming the initial results, no additional differences between the different brands of
vodka were observed. In the wine investigations, all the wines showed inhibition of cell proliferation
during long-term incubation of three different glioblastoma cell lines. Consistently, the inhibition
from red wines was lower than the inhibition from white and rosé wines.
Conclusion: In conclusion, alcoholic beverages at concentrations used during the normal ingestion
have both cytotoxic and antiproliferative effects on glioblastoma cells in vitro which could not be
found in the controls with pure ethanol.