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Association of Lung Cancer Risk With the Presence of Both Lung Nodules and Emphysema in a Lung Cancer Screening Trial.
Pubmed ID
38545483 (View this publication on the PubMed website)
Digital Object Identifier
World J Oncol. 2024 Apr; Volume 15 (Issue 2): Pages 246-256
Liu Y, Feng ZW, Liu XM, Duan HY, Lyu ZY, Huang YB, Song FF, Song FJ
  • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Key Laboratory of Molecular Cancer Epidemiology of Tianjin, Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Therapy of Tianjin, Tianjin's Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300060, China.

BACKGROUND: The coexistence of emphysema and lung nodules could interact with each other and then lead to potential higher lung cancer risk. The study aimed to explore the association between emphysema combined with lung nodules and lung cancer risk.

METHODS: A total of 21,949 participants from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) who underwent low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) examination were included. Participants were categorized into four groups (NENN group (non-emphysema and non-nodules), E group (emphysema without nodules), N group (nodules without emphysema), and E + N group (nodules with emphysema)) according to whether there were lung nodules and emphysema. Multivariable Cox regression and stratified analyses were performed to estimate the association between the four groups and lung cancer risk.

RESULTS: Among the 21,949 participants, there were 9,040 (41.2%), 5,819 (26.5%), 4,737 (21.6%), and 2,353 (10.7%) participants in the NENN group, E group, N group, and E + N group. The risk of lung cancer incidence increased in turn in NENN group, E group, N group and E + N group. Compared with NENN group, the age-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) (95% confidence intervals (CIs)) of lung cancer incidence were 2.07 (1.69 - 2.54) for E group, 4.13 (3.47 - 5.05) for N group, and 6.26 (5.14 - 7.62) for E + N group. The association was robust to adjustment for potential confounders (1.83 (1.47 - 2.27) for E group, 3.97 (3.24 - 4.86) for N group, and 5.23 (4.28 - 6.48) for E + N group). Comparable results as the lung cancer incidence were observed for lung cancer mortality, whether in age-adjusted model (E group: 1.85 (1.39 - 2.46), N group: 2.49 (1.89 - 3.29), E + N group: 4.27 (3.21 - 5.68)) or fully adjusted model (E group: 1.56 (1.15 - 2.11), N group: 2.43 (1.81 - 3.26), E + N group: 3.39 (2.50 - 4.61)). However, the trend of all-cause mortality risk among the four groups was somewhat different from that of lung cancer risk, whether in age-adjusted model (1.37 (1.21 - 1.54) for E group, 1.06 (0.92 - 1.21) for N group, and 1.75 (1.51 - 2.02) for E + N group) or fully adjusted model (1.26 (1.10 - 1.44) for E group, 1.09 (0.94 - 1.27) for N group, and 1.52 (1.30 - 1.79) for E + N group).

CONCLUSION: Based on a large-scale lung cancer screening trial in the United States, this study demonstrated that either emphysema or lung nodules can increase lung cancer risk, and lung nodules combined with emphysema can further increase the lung cancer risk and all-cause mortality. The significance of these findings for lung cancer screening should be evaluated.

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