Risk of cancer in patients with insomnia, parasomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea: A nationwide nested case-control study

Hui Feng Fang, Nae Fang Miao, Chi Dan Chen, Trevor Sithole, Min Huey Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Insomnia, parasomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea have been associated with a number of disease pathologies, but little is known about the relationship of these sleep disorders and cancer. The study explored the risk of sleep disorder (SD)-induced cancer using nationwide population data. Two million data from the National Health Insurance system of Taiwan was used to assess for the relationship. Patients and Methods: Patients with cancer as our cases and patients without cancer as our control group in 2001-20011. The study patients were traced back to seek the exposure risk factor of sleep disorders, which was divided into three categories: insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and parasomnia. Patients were selected excluding patients who had cancer prior to presenting with the sleep disorder and the person-year is less than 2 years. Each case was randomly matched with two cases with the same age, gender, and index year. Results: There were significantly increased risks of breast cancer in the patients with insomnia (AHR=1.73; 95% CI: 1.57-1.90), patients with parasomnia (AHR=2.76; 95% CI: 1.53-5.00), and patients with OSA (AHR=2.10; 95% CI: 1.16-3.80). Moreover, patients with parasomnia had significantly higher risk of developing oral cancer (AHR=2.71; 95% CI: 1.02-7.24) compared with patients without parasomnia. The risk of suffering from nasal cancer (AHR=5.96, 95% CI: 2.96-11.99) and prostate cancer (AHR=3.69, 95% CI: 1.98- 6.89) in patients with OSA was significantly higher than that of patients without OSA. Conclusions: Our findings provided the evidence that people diagnosed with insomnia, parasomnia and OSA are at a higher risk of developing cancers to remind people to improve sleep quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1140-1147
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Cancer
  • Insomnia
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Parasomnia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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