Scientists from University Hospitals Case Medical Center’s Seidman Cancer Center and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University have found an association between insufficient sleep and biologically more aggressive tumors as well as likelihood of cancer recurrence in post-menopausal women.
Published in the August issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, the study found that women who reported six hours or less of sleep per night on average before breast cancer diagnosis had higher Oncotype DX tumor recurrence scores; Oncotype DX is a test to guide treatment in early stage breast cancer by predicting likelihood of recurrence.
“We found a strong correlation between fewer hours of sleep per night and worse recurrence scores, specifically in post-menopausal breast cancer patients,” said said Dr. Thompson, who is Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and lead author. “This suggests that lack of sufficient sleep may cause more aggressive tumors, but more research will need to be done to verify this finding and understand the causes of this association.”
“Short sleep duration is a public health hazard leading not only to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but also cancer,” added Li Li, MD, PhD, a study co-author. “Effective intervention to increase duration of sleep and improve quality of sleep could be an under-appreciated avenue for reducing the risk of developing more aggressive breast cancers and recurrence.”
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