Dissertation: Sleep Traits as Risk Factors for Lung Cancer Among Smokers and Never Smokers
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among men and second leading cause of death among women globally. Incidence of lung cancer is approximately 47,000 persons per year in the UK, with only 16% of those diagnosed with the disease surviving 5 or more years, and only 9.5% of those diagnosed surviving 10 or more years. A recent study in the UK discovered that approximately 13% of those diagnosed with lung cancer never smoked cigarettes, suggesting other potentially modifiable risk factors for the disease. Our project aims to look at sleep as a potential risk factor for lung cancer incidence and mortality in order to improve our understanding of the etiology of this disease. We will use a cohort study design to assess how sleep traits impact the risk of lung cancer and lung cancer mortality in the UK. Furthermore, we will use a nested case-control study design to assess causality of the relationship between sleep traits and risk of lung cancer through the use of previously validated germline variants of sleep traits, examining their association with risk of lung cancer incidence. Finally, we will use Mendelian Randomization, a relatively new technique in epidemiology, to determine if sleep is causally associated with risk of lung cancer.
All analyses will be stratified by smoking status (never, ever) in order to disentangle the effect of smoking from the relationship between sleep traits and lung cancer risk and survival. This research will provide valuable insight into potential modifiable risk factors for lung cancer and will aid in our understanding of the etiology of this devastating disease. The length of this research project will be 24 months and will result in several peer-reviewed journal publications.