Researchers from Hospital Clínic De Barcelona in Spain, University of Chicago, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, have presented the results from a recent study showing that lack of sleep can help tumours thrive at the European Association of Urology Congress in Munich, Germany.
The study assessed the effects of sleep apnoea on the growth of blood vessels inside kidney tumours in mice. Sleep apnoea is a condition marked by shallow breaths or pauses in breathing during sleep. The pauses can last from seconds to minutes, and sometimes occur 30 times an hour. Most daytime sleepiness is a result of sleep apnoea.
Another consequence of sleep apnoea is hypoxia. Hypoxia is when the organs and tissues are receiving insufficient oxygen. The researchers suggest that hypoxia could be contributing to the growth of blood vessels inside tumours.
This study might help to explain why a healthy, active lifestyle that increases oxygen in the blood results in better outcomes for patients.