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Is Poor Sleep Quality Linked to Risk for Serous Ovarian Cancer in Older Women?

By: Melissa E. Fryman, MS
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2020

Sleep characteristics of postmenopausal women may be associated with a risk of serous ovarian cancer, according to a multicenter, prospective, observational study by Juhua Luo, PhD, of the Indiana University Bloomington, and colleagues. However, no such association was reported between sleep quality and overall ovarian cancer. The study’s findings were published in Cancer Prevention Research.

In this report, the researchers presented the sleep characteristics of 109,024 postmenopausal women who were followed for an average of 15.6 years. Data regarding the incident rate of ovarian cancer, the duration and quality of nightly sleep, and the presence of sleep disturbance or insomnia were analyzed for this study, with adjustments made for age and other variables.

Of the 1,000 cases of ovarian cancer reported over an average of 9.3 years for this study, 58% were serous ovarian cancers, and 93% of these cases were classified as invasive. Compared with women who reported average sleep quality, women with restful or very restful sleep quality had a significantly lower risk of invasive serous ovarian cancer. Conversely, insomnia was associated with a higher risk of invasive serous ovarian cancer. However, associations with insomnia differed by serous and nonserous as well as type I and type II subtypes of ovarian cancer.

Although some of the literature may offer potential pathways from poor sleep to cancer risk, the researchers noted, the biologic evidence for these associations is yet unknown. “More research is needed regarding sleep habits and invasive serous ovarian cancer, and the potential biological mechanisms of sleep quality and sleep disturbance on the ovary should be better identified,” they proposed.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit aacrjournals.org.



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