Sleep-disordered breathing in children with Down syndrome: Usefulness of home polysomnography.
In the light of relationships reported between hypoxemia (tissue hypoxia) and cancer, Abrams et al. concluded in 2008 that sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) and its main consequence, intermittent hypoxia, could be related with increased susceptibility to cancer or poorer prognosis of a pre-existing tumor. This pathophysiological association was confirmed in animal studies. Two large independent historical cohort studies subsequently found that the degree of nocturnal hypoxia in patients with SAHS was associated with higher cancer incidence and mortality. This finding has been confirmed in almost all subsequent studies, although the retrospective nature of some requires that they be considered as hypothesis-generating only. The relationship between sleep apnea and cancer, and the pathophysiological mechanisms governing it, could be clarified in the near future in a currently on-going study in a large group of melanoma patients.