Background: Although positive associations have consistently been reported between sleep disruption and breast cancer, less is known about its potential role in prostate cancer.
Methods: Within the prospective AGES-Reykjavik cohort study, we followed 2,102 men recruited in 2002-2006 until the end of 2009. Participants answered questions on sleep disruption. Information on the occurrence of prostate cancer was obtained through record linkages across the Icelandic Cancer Registry. We used Cox regression models with 95% confidence intervals (CI) to estimate HRs of prostate cancer by symptoms of sleep disruption.
Results: During follow-up, 135 men (6.4%) were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Compared with men without sleep disruption, those with problems falling and staying asleep were at significantly increased risk of prostate cancer [HR, 1.7 (95% CI, 1.0-2.9) and 2.1 (95% CI, 1.2-3.7)], respectively, with increasing sleep disruption severity. When restricted to advanced prostate cancer (≥ stage T3 or lethal disease), these associations became even stronger [HR 2.1 (95% CI, 0.7-6.2) and 3.2 (95% CI, 1.1-9.7)]. The results did not change after excluding from the analyses men who woke up during the night, indicative of nocturia, suggesting limited risk of reverse association.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that certain aspects of sleep disruption may confer an increased risk of prostate cancer and call for additional, larger studies with longer follow-up times.
Impact: Prostate cancer is one of the leading public health concerns in men; if confirmed in future studies, the association between sleep disruption and prostate cancer risk may open new avenues for prevention.