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Lack of Sleep Found to be a New Risk Factor for Aggressive Breast Cancers

Lack of sleep is linked to more aggressive breast cancers, according to new findings published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment by physician-scientists from University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University.

Led by Cheryl Thompson, PhD, the study is the first-of-its-kind to show an association between insufficient sleep and biologically more aggressive tumors as well as likelihood of cancer recurrence. The research team analyzed medical records and survey responses from 412 post-menopausal breast cancer patients treated at UH Case Medical Center with Oncotype DX, a widely utilized test to guide treatment in early stage breast cancer by predicting likelihood of recurrence.

All patients were recruited at diagnosis and asked about the average sleep duration in the last two years. Researchers found that women who reported six hours or less of sleep per night on average before breast cancer diagnosis had higher Oncotype DX tumor recurrence scores. The Oncotype DX test assigns a tumor a recurrence score based on the expression level of a combination of 21 genes.

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