Short duration of sleep increases risk of colorectal adenoma

Cancer. 2011 Feb 15;117(4):841-7. doi: 10.1002/cncr.25507. Epub 2010 Oct 8.


Background: Short duration and poor quality of sleep have been associated with increased risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and total mortality. However, few studies have investigated their associations with risk of colorectal neoplasia.

Methods: In a screening colonoscopy-based case-control study, the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was administered to 1240 study participants before colonoscopy.

Results: Three hundred thirty-eight (27.3%) of the participants were diagnosed with incident colorectal adenomas. Although there was no appreciable difference in the overall PSQI score between cases and adenoma-free controls (5.32 vs 5.11; P = .37), the authors found a statistically significant association of colorectal adenoma with the PSQI component 3, which corresponds to sleep duration (P = .02). Cases were more likely to average less than 6 hours of sleep per night (28.9% vs 22.1% in controls, P = .01). In multivariate regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, race, smoking, family history of colorectal cancer, and waist-to-hip ratio, individuals averaging less than 6 hours per night had an almost 50% increase in risk of colorectal adenomas (OR = 1.47; CI = 1.05-2.06, P for trend = .02) as compared with individuals sleeping at least 7 hours per night. Cases were also more likely to report being diagnosed with sleep apnea (9.8% vs 6.5%, P = .05) and more likely to have worked alternate shifts (54.0% vs 46.1%, P = .01), although these differences were not significant in multivariate models.

Conclusions: Shorter duration of sleep significantly increases risk of colorectal adenomas. The authors' results suggest sleep duration as a novel risk factor for colorectal neoplasia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / etiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Deprivation*
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm / complications
  • Sleep*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires