COPD patients have greater lung cancer risk despite no smoking history

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) increased lung cancer risk on patients despite no smoking history, a Samsung Medical Center research team found.


The finding was published on the latest issue of “Thorax” (IF 10.307), drawing huge interest after publication and garnering attention from world-renowned media, such as Newsweek, etc.


The results were based on the 7-year follow-up of 338,548 patients aged 40–84 years old who have no lung cancer history according to the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort.


The research team found a total of 1,834 confirmed lung cancer cases during the follow-up, and the occurrence risk for COPD patients was 3.12 times greater than non-COPD patients. 


The same was true for patients with a history of smoking, which is a major cause of lung cancer. When the effects of COPD on lung cancer occurrence were studied on nonsmokers, it was discovered that COPD patients were 2.67 times more at risk than non-COPD patients. Thus, COPD was confirmed to be a major factor in lung cancer occurrence even for nonsmokers.


*It should be noted that more than a third of COPD patients were nonsmokers according to the research. Hence, the proper management of patients is important.