COPD, emphysema and the onset of lung cancer. A systematic review

Cancer Lett. 2016 Nov 28;382(2):240-244. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 22.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and emphysema have been described as possible risk factors for lung cancer. We aim to assess the relationship between COPD, emphysema and the onset of lung cancer. We have developed a systematic review of the published literature in order to systematically analyze the scientific evidence available on this association, applying predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. 11 Studies were included. Both COPD and emphysema seem to increase the risk of developing lung cancer, being this risk higher for smokers with heavier tobacco consumption. These results emphasize the need for physicians to perform spirometries in current and former smokers and lung image tests when needed in order to identify COPD and emphysema and thus select patients at higher risk of developing lung cancer.

Keywords: COPD; Emphysema; Lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Lung* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung* / physiopathology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / therapy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Spirometry