FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an independent risk factor for lung cancer incidence, regardless of smoking status, according to a study published online April 2 in Thorax.

Hye Yun Park, M.D., Ph.D., from the Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues estimated the risk for lung cancer incidence in never smokers with COPD and compared it to the risk associated with smoking in a cohort involving 335,548 individuals aged 40 to 84 years.

The researchers found that 1,834 participants developed lung cancer during 2,355,005 person-years of follow-up (median follow-up, 7.0 years). The fully adjusted hazard ratios were 2.67, 1.97, and 6.19 for lung cancer in never smokers with COPD, ever smokers without COPD, and ever smokers with COPD, respectively, compared with never smokers without COPD.

“Given that poor lung function in COPD is often a barrier to optimal lung cancer treatment due to increased risk of treatment-related morbidities, our study suggests that early detection of lung cancer in COPD patients may reduce the risk of treatment complications,” the authors write. “Patients with COPD are at a high risk of lung cancer and future studies should evaluate whether COPD patients are candidates for lung cancer screening, irrespective of smoking status.”

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