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Obstructive sleep apnea linked to cancer growth in mice
Date:5/17/2011

(normoxia). Tumor volume was measured throughout the study and at the end of the study period. At the end of the 14-day study period, tumors from all mice were removed and weighed and tumor necrosis (indicated by the numbers of dead cells present) was measured to determine the aggressiveness of the tumors.

The authors found that while tumor volume progressively increased with time in both the intermittent hypoxia and control groups, the increase was higher in the mice subjected to intermittent hypoxia. Tumor weight and necrosis in the intermittent hypoxia group were almost two times that of the tumors in the control group.

"With the limitations of any animal model study, these results suggest that the intermittent hypoxia characterizing obstructive sleep apnea could enhance the growth of tumors," Dr. Farre said, adding that although the results were not entirely unexpected based on earlier studies connecting hypoxia with tumor growth, a link between breathing abnormalities specific to OSA and tumor progression had not previously been demonstrated.

"It was well known that continuous hypoxia promotes the growth of cancer cells and tumors," he said. "However, there were no data concerning the effects of the fast rate changes of oxygenation in sleep apnea on cancer."

Dr. Farre said the results of this study could have future clinical implications if the results are confirmed in large-scale human studies. "There are still several questions that need to be answered, both at the basic science and clinical levels," he said.

Future studies would need to evaluate whether intermittent hypoxia also triggers the initial formation of tumors and whether it promotes metastasis, or spread of tumors from one organ to another. Because this study focused on melanoma, Dr. Farre said additional studies should also explore whether intermittent hypoxia affects other types of cancer.

Extended population studies should also determine if
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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