In a recent study, researchers at the Seoul National University College of Medicine investigated the association between bronchiectasis and lung cancer in patients with COPD. The authors of the study aimed to evaluate whether the inflammatory status characteristic of non-cystic fibrosis (CF) bronchiectasis is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer in patients suffering from COPD, and the researchers found a possible protective role for bronchiectasis against lung cancer.

The researchers enrolled COPD patients with moderate to very severe airflow impairment, and from these selected patients with lung cancer, according a Bronchiectasis News Today report. Control patients were selected from the screened patients as those negative for lung cancer. A chest scan was used to determine the presence of bronchiectasis, and a radiologist and pulmonologist further validated this. The team was able to enroll 99 COPD patients with lung cancer and 198 COPD patients without lung cancer.

The research team found that COPD patients with bronchiectasis and moderate to severe airflow limitation were inversely associated with the risk of lung cancer, ie, COPD patients with bronchiectasis were associated with a lower risk of lung cancer, as indicated on the Bronchiectasis news report. In addition, notable associations were found in patients with squamous cell carcinoma and a history of smoking.

According to Bronchiectasis, the researchers hypothesized that since the inflammatory profile characteristic of bronchiectasis is different from the one of COPD, then this difference may render patients with bronchiectasis more protected against lung carcinogenesis. A possible factor for this protection may be TGF-?1, which was previously reported as potentially protecting against carcinogenesis.

The authors of the study note that the results of the analysis are still preliminary but propose exploring a potential protective role for bronchiectasis in lung cancer in future studies with larger samples.

Source: Bronchiectasis News Today