Tuberculosis patients at higher lung cancer risk

New research from the China Medical University indicates that tuberculosis patients are at a higher risk for developing lung cancer.

There is as yet no research that proves a direct link between lung cancer and TB, but the new study brings evidence that there is a higher cancer risk in those with TB, according to

Dr. Chih-Yi Chen, a co-author of the study, told that TB is a very common disease worldwide and that most of those suffering from it are in the developing world.

“It is well known that lung cancer is causally associated with smoking,” Chen said, according to “Less attention has been focused on whether people with tuberculosis are also at higher risk of developing lung cancer.”

To conduct the study, one million patients covered by the Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program were randomly selected by the team of researchers from the China Medical University and Hospital.

Study participants were divided into two groups - those with tuberculosis and those without. All patients with a history of cancer were removed from the study.

“With the universal health insurance claims data of Taiwan, we identified 4,480 patients with tuberculosis from a group of 716,872 people and followed them for eight years or longer,” Chen said, reports. “The incidence of lung cancer in these tuberculosis patients was 11 times greater than people without tuberculosis. The risk of lung cancer may increase further to almost 16 times greater if patients with tuberculosis also suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“This study suggests that it is also important to watch out for lung cancer prevention in the campaign against tuberculosis."