Study Shows Circadian Rhythm Disruptions Linked To Enhanced Lung Cancer Growth

Lung CancerAccording to a new paper co-authored by University of Rochester Wilmot Cancer Institute investigator and led by the Scripps Research Institute in California, a vital molecular link is between growth of lung cancer (tumor) and disrupted circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms primarily respond to daylight and darkness. These biological clocks in almost every cell in body regulate the sleep-wake pattern over the time interval of 24 hours. It is a circular process that rules sleep-wake cycles. The disruptions of circadian rhythms are generally caused by lifestyle factors like shift work, travel across different time zones, jet lag, night time snacking etc. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), disrupted circadian rhythms are probable carcinogen as a result of population and laboratory based findings.

This latest study describes that the circadian clock gets off track, it can trigger lung tumors. Lungs are under tight circadian control and are vulnerable to disrupted biological clock. This team of scientists have discovered a potential genetic link between lung tumor growth and disrupted circadian rhythms and the results have been published in Science Advances. Various studies in human and animal models have suggested that circadian clock plays an important role in the genesis and progression of cancer.  Their paper descries in mouse models the role of HSF1 signaling which may explain tumor formation in response to rhythm disruption. It also suggests that it may be possible to target HSF1 with drug therapy with the purpose of preventing lung cancer among people with frequently disturbed circadian rhythms.

Brian Altman, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Biomedical Genetics at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a Wilmot faculty member said, “Everything points in the same direction.” He noted that in this case, when the circadian clocks in mice are disrupted by inconsistent sleep, for example, the outcomes are highly relevant to people who work night shifts or rotating schedules.

Circadian rhythm disruption is also being linked to Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Hypertension and Obesity. More evidence in humans is required to come at conclusive outcomes. There are actionable steps that one may take to help reduce the potential health risks associated with circadian rhythm disruption.

The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only.

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