Increased risk for cancer in young patients with severe obstructive Sleep Apnea

Ronen Brenner, Shaye Kivity, Marina Peker, Daniel Reinhorn, Lital Keinan-Boker, Barbara Silverman, Irena Liphsitz, Tamara Kolitz, Carmit Levy, Dekel Shlomi, Giora Pillar, Nir Peled

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Several studies in animal models and human with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) demonstrated an increase in cancer aggressiveness and mortality. However, there is a need for further clinical evidence supporting a correlation between OSAS and cancer incidence. Objectives: To reveal whether OSAS presence and severity is correlated with cancer incidence in a large homogenous patients' cohort. Methods: We analyzed a cohort of over 5,000 concurrently enrolled patients, age > 18, with suspected OSAS, from a tertiary medical academic center. Patients underwent whole night polysomnography, the gold standard diagnostic tool for OSAS, and were classified for severity according to the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI). Data on cancer incidence were obtained from the Israel National Cancer Registry. A multivariate Cox proportional-hazards analysis, adjusted for age, gender, and BMI, was performed to estimate the hazard-ratio of new cancer incidence. Results: Among 5,243 subjects with a median follow-up of 5.9 years, 265 were diagnosed with cancer. The most prevalent cancers were prostate (14.7%), hematological (12.8%), urothelial (9.4%), colorectal (9%), and breast (8.3%). In subjects who were diagnosed at age below 45 years (n = 1,533), a high AHI (> 57/h) was significantly associated with cancer (HR 3.7, CI 1.12-12.45, p = 0.008). Conclusions: Patients younger than 45 with severe OSAS have a significantly higher all-type cancer incidence than the general population. These results should encourage clinicians to detect and diagnose young patients with suspected OSAS and to recommend cancer screening methods in this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Cancer
  • OSAS
  • Survival


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