Vienna, Austria: Sleep apnoea severity has been associated with increased cancer mortality in a new study.
The research, which will be presented today (Tuesday 4 September 2012) at the European Respiratory Society's (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna, adds to evidence presented earlier this year highlighting a link between severe sleep apnoea and cancer.
Two further studies presented at the ERS Congress, also show evidence suggesting an increase in cancer incidence among sleep apnoea patients and an association between the spread of cancer and sleep apnoea.
In the first study, over 5,600 patients from 7 different sleep clinics in Spain were analysed to investigate the link between sleep apnoea and cancer mortality.
The severity of sleep apnoea, was then measured, using an hypoxaemia index. This index measures the amount of time during the night that a person suffers from low levels of oxygen in the blood (less than 90% oxygen saturation).
The results showed that people with sleep apnoea who spent more than 14% of their sleep with levels of oxygen saturation below 90% (usually severe sleep apnoea patients) had approximately double the relative risk of death due to cancer (odds ratio 1.94), than people without sleep apnoea. The results showed that this association was even higher in men and younger people.
People with sleep apnoea can be treated using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which generates a stream of air to keep the upper airways open during sleep. In the first study, patients who were not using this device consistently had an increased relative risk (odds ratio 2.56) of death from cancer.
Lead author, Dr Miguel Angel Martinez-Garcia from La Fe University Hospital in Valencia, Spain, said: "We found a significant increase in the relative risk of dying from cancer in people with sleep apnoea. This adds to evidence presented earlier this year that found for the first time
|Contact: Lauren Anderson|
European Lung Foundation