Independent predictive factors of lung cancer in patients with COPD may include the severity of COPD, airflow obstruction, visual emphysema, and frequency of respiratory exacerbations, according to a study published by CHEST.

Researchers conducted a nested, case-control study that included individuals between 45 and 80 years of age, with or without a diagnosis of lung cancer, who were current or former smokers (?10 pack-years), and who were currently participating in the COPDGene study with longitudinal follow-up for up to 8 years. Individuals diagnosed with lung cancer during follow-up (n=169) were matched 1:4 with 671 control participants not diagnosed with lung cancer.

Study results demonstrated an independent association with a diagnosis of lung cancer during the follow-up period in individuals with a lower body mass index, a more severe form of airway obstruction, and visual emphysema, in addition to a higher number of acute respiratory exacerbations in the year before enrollment.