Sleep quality and risk of cancer: findings from the English longitudinal study of aging.


Song C(1), Zhang R(1), Wang C(1), Fu R(1), Song W(1), Dou K(1), Wang S(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Cardiology, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.
(2)Department of Diagnostic Radiology, National Cancer Center/Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.


STUDY OBJECTIVE: To prospectively examine the association between sleep quality and incident cancer risk in the elderly. METHODS: A total of 10,036 participants aged ≥50 years free of cancer at baseline from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing at wave 4 (2008) were included, and followed up until 2016. The primary endpoint was new onset physician-diagnosed cancer. Sleep quality was assessed by four questions regarding the frequency of sleep problems and overall subjective feeling of sleep quality in the last month, with higher score denoting poorer sleep quality. The multivariable Cox regression model was used to calculate hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for incident cancer risk according to sleep quality. RESULTS: At 8-year follow-up, a total of 745 (7.4%) participants developed cancer. Compared with good sleep quality at baseline, HR (95% CI) for incident cancer risk was 1.328 (1.061, 1.662) for intermediate quality, 1.586 (1.149, 2.189) for poor quality. Similarly, compared with maintaining good sleep quality in the first 4 years, HR (95% CI) for incident cancer risk was 1.615 (1.208, 2.160) for maintaining intermediate quality and 1.608 (1.043, 2.480) for maintaining poor quality. The exclusion of participants with family history of cancer or abnormal sleep duration yielded consistent results. CONCLUSIONS: Poor sleep quality is positively associated with the long-term risk of developing cancer in an elderly cohort. Both medical staffs and the general public should pay more attention to improving sleep hygiene.