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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Oncology - Physiology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Respiratory Medicine

Association between Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Lung Cancer: A Case-Control Study in Southern Chinese and a Meta-Analysis
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Author: Hui Wang et al.

by Hui Wang, Lei Yang, Linnan Zou, Dongsheng Huang, Yuan Guo, Mingan Pan, Yigang Tan, Haibo Zhong, Weidong Ji, Pixin Ran, Nanshan Zhong, Jiachun Lu


Lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) share a common risk factor in cigarette smoking and a large portion of patients with lung cancer suffer from COPD synchronously. We therefore hypothesized that COPD is an independent risk factor for lung cancer. Our aim was to investigate the intrinsic linkage of COPD (or emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma) and lung cancer.


The present hospital-based case-control study included 1,069 patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer and 1,132 age frequency matched cancer-free controls. The odds ratios (ORs) for the associations between each previous pulmonary disease and lung cancer were estimated with logistic regression models, adjusting for age, sex, family history of cancer, BMI and pack year smoking. In meta-analysis, the pooled effects of previous pulmonary diseases were analyzed with random effects models; and stratification analyses were conducted on smoking status and ethnicity.


In the case-control study, previous COPD was associated with the odds for increased risk of lung cancer (OR?=?1.29, 95% confidence interval [CI]?=?1.00~1.68); so were emphysema (OR?=?1.55, 95%CI?=?1.03~2.32) and chronic bronchitis (OR?=?1.22, 95%CI?=?0.99~1.67); while asthma was associated with odds for decreased risk of lung cancer (OR?=?0.29, 95%CI?=?0.16~0.53). These associations were more pronounced in smokers (P<.05 for all strata), but not in non-smokers. In meta-analysis, 35 studies (22,010 cases and 44,438 controls) were identified. COPD was significantly associated with the odds for increased risk of lung cancer (pooled OR?=?2.76; 95% CI?=?1.85–4.11), so were emphysema (OR?=?3.02; 95% CI?=?2.41–3.79) and chronic bronchitis (OR?=?1.88; 95% CI?=?1.49–2.36); and these associations were more pronounced in smokers than in non-smokers (P<.001 respectively). No significant association was observed for asthma.


Previous COPD could increase the risk of lung cancer, especially in smokers.