Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has been associated with increased cancer mortality, but whether it is also associated with cancer incidence is unknown.

Researchers accomplished a detailed investigation whether OSA is associated with increased cancer incidence in a large clinical cohort.

Multicenter, clinical cohort study including consecutive patients investigated for suspected OSA between 2003-2007 in 7 Spanish teaching hospitals. Apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and percent night-time with oxygen saturation <90% (TSat90) were used as surrogates of OSA severity, both as continuous variables and categorized by tertiles. Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95%CI for cancer incidence after adjusting for confounding variables.

Measurements and main results: 4,910 patients were analyzed (median follow-up 4.5 years, IQR 3.4-5.2). Compared to the lower TSat90 category (<1.2%), the adjusted hazards (95%CI) of cancer incidence for increasing categories were 1.58 (1.07-2.34) for TSat90 1.2%-12% and 2.33 (1.57-3.46) for TSat90>12%. Continuous TSat90 was also associated with cancer incidence (adjusted HR 1.07 [1.02-1.13] per 10-unit increase in TSat90). In stratified analyses, TSat90 was associated with cancer incidence in patients <65 years (adjusted HR 1.13 [95%CI 1.06-1.21] per 10-unit increase in TSat90) and males (adjusted HR 1.11 [95%CI 1.04-1.17] per 10-unit increase in TSat90). AHI was not associated with cancer incidence in the adjusted analyses, except for patients <65 years (adjusted HR for AHI>43 vs. <18.7: 1.66, 95%CI 1.04-2.64).

Increased overnight hypoxia as a surrogate of obstructive sleep apnea severity was associated with increased cancer incidence. This association seems to be limited to men and patients below the age of 65 years.

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Filed under: Clinical ResearchObstructive Sleep ApneaSleep Apnea EffectsSleep Apnea Research

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