Tags: Health Topics | Sleep Apnea | Cancer | Tumor | Lung Cancer

Sleep Apnea Makes Lung Cancer Deadly

Sleep Apnea Makes Lung Cancer Deadly

(Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 22 November 2016 07:41 AM

There's a new reason to treat sleep apnea as aggressively as possible: Research shows that the disorder's intermittent breathing problems can increase tumor growth.

That's the upshot of a study done by the University of Chicago and the University of Barcelona, which found that the irregular lack of air experienced by people with sleep apnea increases tumor growth by promoting the release of circulating "exosomes," vesicles in the body that transport proteins, lipids, mRNAs, and other components between cells — essentially shuttling communication with cells. In short, when exosomes increase in number and change cell content, tumors become bigger and metastasize. The study's results were published in the journal Chest.

Previous observations by researchers have found that obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with increased cancer risk and mortality. To get a closer look and a better understanding, investigators experimented with cancer cell growth in a group of mice. Half of the mice studied had regular breathing patterns, while the other half were exposed to intermittent breathing patterns to simulate sleep apnea. The team found that exosomes released in the mice exposed to the induced sleep apnea encouraged cancer cells to grow and multiply.

"Exosomes are currently under intense investigation since they have been implicated in the modulation of a wide range of malignant processes," said lead investigator Dr. David Gozal from the department of pediatrics at the Pritzker School of Medicine at The University of Chicago.

In the mice exposed to the induced sleep apnea, the number of cancer friendly exosomes increased. These exosomes increased the speed at which cancer cells not only proliferated but also moved throughout the body. Researchers also found that when they isolated the exosomes from mice that had been exposed to sleep apnea, the exosomes promoted malignant cells in the lab.

Driving the point home, researchers knew from previous studies that exosomes from actual patients with sleep apnea showed the same effects on human cancer cells in the lab when compared with exosomes from the same patients after treatment of their sleep apnea with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure therapy, a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea).

"Over the past few years, exosomes have emerged as critically important players in intercellular communication," said Dr. Gozal. "Notably, several studies have demonstrated the role of tumor exosomes in regulating major processes of tumor progression, [including] metastasis."

"There is no doubt," concluded Gozal, "that improved understanding of the complex network of genes and cellular signaling . . . in the context of obstructive sleep apnea will augment our knowledge on its potential deleterious effects among cancer patients."


 

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There's a new reason to treat sleep apnea as aggressively as possible: Research shows that the disorder's intermittent breathing problems can increase tumor growth.
Sleep Apnea, Cancer, Tumor, Lung Cancer
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2016-41-22
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 07:41 AM
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