Sleep apnea or simply a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, can lead to the growth of lung cancer growth in young individuals.
A scientific study, conducted with animal models at the University of Barcelona, stated, “the younger, the more vulnerable to cancer’s aggressiveness.”
The obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a chronic disease which affects about the 10 per cent of the adult population worldwide. During these last years, researchers have shown interest in the study of the potential relationship between the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and its immediate consequence, intermittent hypoxia, with the appearance of tumors.
The new study represents a scientific advance within the research line of the potential effects of obstructive sleep apnea in cancer.
This new study has been conducted on young mice -equivalent ages to those in teenagers- and old mice -corresponding to people aged over 65- and shows how the lack of oxygen during sleep (hypoxia) speeds up tumor growth in the youngest ones only.
The research team related the results to a differential immune response to intermittent hypoxia in tumor-associated macrophages and regulatory lymphocytes.
According to Isaac Almendros, a researcher, “We should consider the importance of the research conducted on animals aged equally to patients with respiratory chronic diseases, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Our challenge is to identify and prove sleep apnea’s physio pathological consequences and contribute to the development of personalized medicine to work on its comprehensive handling”.
The findings appeared in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.