TitleSleep problems and risk of cancer incidence and mortality in an older cohort: The Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS).
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSillah, A, Watson, NF, Peters, U, Biggs, ML, F. Nieto, J, Li, CI, Gozal, D, Thornton, T, Barrie, S, Phipps, AI
JournalCancer Epidemiol
Date Published11/2021

BACKGROUND: Sleep problems (SP) can indicate underlying sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, which may adversely impact cancer risk and mortality.

METHODS: We assessed the association of baseline and longitudinal sleep apnea and insomnia symptoms with incident cancer (N = 3930) and cancer mortality (N = 4580) in the Cardiovascular Health Study. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to evaluate the associations.

RESULTS: Overall, 885 incident cancers and 804 cancer deaths were identified over a median follow-up of 12 and 14 years, respectively. Compared to participants who reported no sleep apnea symptoms, the risk of incident cancer was inversely associated [(HR (95%CI)] with snoring [0.84 (0.71, 0.99)]. We noted an elevated prostate cancer incidence for apnea [2.34 (1.32, 4.15)] and snoring [1.69 (1.11, 2.57)]. We also noted an elevated HR for lymphatic or hematopoietic cancers [daytime sleepiness: 1.81 (1.06, 3.08)]. We found an inverse relationship for cancer mortality with respect to snoring [0.73 (0.62, 0.8)] and apnea [(0.69 (0.51, 0.94))]. We noted a significant inverse relationship between difficulty falling asleep and colorectal cancer death [0.32 (0.15, 0.69)] and snoring with lung cancer death [0.56 (0.35, 0.89)].

CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between SP and cancer risk and mortality was heterogeneous. Larger prospective studies addressing more cancer sites, molecular type-specific associations, and better longitudinal SP assessments are needed for improved delineation of SP-cancer risk dyad.

Alternate JournalCancer Epidemiol
PubMed ID34798387