Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How sleep apnea might worsen cancer development

Public Release: 11-Mar-2016
How a bad night's sleep might worsen cancer development
European Association of Urology

Recent studies have indicated that patients with sleep apnea may be associated with worse cancer outcomes. Now a new animal study, presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Munich, uncovers a possible mechanism which may underlie this link.

Hypoxia is where a tissue or organ does not get enough oxygen. It is one of the consequences of sleep apnea, which is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Sleep apnea has been associated with increases in the risk of several conditions, such as high blood pressure or stroke. Recently some evidence has also linked it to worse cancer outcomes, although there is some conflicting evidence on this. The possible mechanism linking apnea to worse outcomes is not known, although it is known that patients suffering from obstructive apnea usually suffer from intermittent hypoxia.

Now a group of Spanish-US researchers have used a mouse model to show that intermittent hypoxia promotes the formation of blood vessels within tumours, probably due to an increased production of Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is known to promote blood vessels formation.


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