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VOLUME 36, ISSUE 10

SYMPTOMS OF SDB AND RISK OF CANCER: A PROSPECTIVE COHORT STUDY
Symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing and Risk of Cancer: A Prospective Cohort Study

http://dx.doi.org/10.5665/sleep.3030

Anne Sofie Christensen, BSc1,2; Alice Clark, MSc1,2; Paula Salo, PhD3,4; Peter Nymann, PhD5; Peter Lange, DMSc1,6,7; Eva Prescott, DMSc6,8; Naja Hulvej Rod, PhD1,2

1Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2Copenhagen Stress Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark; 3Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland; 4Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland; 5Private Practice, Copenhagen, Denmark; 6The Copenhagen City Heart Study, Frederiksberg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 7Section of Respiratory Medicine, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 8Department of Cardiology, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark



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Study Objectives:

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) has been associated with oxidative stress, inflammation, and altered hormonal levels, all of which could affect the risk of cancer. The aim of the study is to examine if symptoms of SDB including snoring, breathing cessations, and daytime sleepiness affect the incidence of total cancer and subtypes of cancer.

Design:

Prospective cohort study.

Setting:

The third wave (1991-1993) of the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

Participants:

There were 8,783 men and women in whom cancer had not been previously diagnosed.

Measurements and Results:

Participants answered questions about snoring and breathing cessations in 1991-1993, whereas information about daytime sleepiness based on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale was collected in a subset of the participants (n = 5,894) in 1998. First-time incidence of cancer was followed until December 2009 in a nationwide cancer register. We found no overall association between symptoms of SDB and incident cancer. Yet, in the small group with high daytime sleepiness, we observed a surprisingly higher cancer incidence (hazard ratio = 4.09; 95% CI 1.58-10.55) in persons younger than 50 years. We also found a higher risk of virus/immune-related cancers (2.73; 1.27-5.91) and alcohol-related cancers (4.92; 1.45-16.76) among persons with daytime sleepiness. More SDB symptoms were associated with a higher risk of smoking-related cancers (Ptrend: 0.04). Apart from these findings there were no clear associations between symptoms of sleep disordered breathing and cancer subtypes.

Conclusion:

We found very limited evidence of relationship between symptoms of sleep disordered breathing and incidence of cancer.

Citation:

Christensen AS; Clark A; Salo P; Nymann P; Lange P; Prescott E; Rod NH. Symptoms of sleep disordered breathing and risk of cancer: a prospective cohort study. SLEEP 2013;36(10):1429-1435.

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