Results from a recent study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease show that the concomitant presence of bronchiectasis in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is associated with a lower risk of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in both males and females worldwide, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 21%.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory disease involving the airways. COPD often causes the destruction of the bronchioles or bronchiectasis leading to chronic local and systemic inflammation. Non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis is a chronic airway inflammatory disease characterized by abnormal, permanent dilatation of the bronchi accompanied by high levels of inflammatory cytokines.
Since the mechanism of airway inflammation in bronchiectasis and the association between bronchiectasis and lung cancer remains unclear, in their study titled “The association between combined non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis and lung cancer in patients with chronic obstructive lung disease,” Deog Kyeom Kim from the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine in Korea along with colleagues screened COPD patients older than 40 years.
Patients had moderate to very severe airflow limitation with a post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) ≤70% and FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC) <0.7 and who underwent chest computed tomography (CT). Patients with lung cancer and controls matched for age, sex, and smoking history were selected. The risk of lung cancer was assessed according to the presence of underlying bronchiectasis confirmed by chest CT.
A total of 99 cases and 198 controls were identified and the researchers found that combined bronchiectasis on chest CT was inversely associated with the risk of lung cancer compared with controls. Results also showed associations between patients with squamous cell carcinoma and history of smoking. However, the severity and location of bronchiectasis were not associated with the risk of lung cancer.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that concomitant presence of bronchiectasis in COPD patients with moderate to very severe airflow limitation was inversely associated with the risk of lung cancer. The researchers suggest that other studies should explore the possible protective effect of bronchiectasis on lung cancer.