Can COPD develop into lung cancer?

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sravanthi Sunkaraneni
Yes, in some cases. The prolonged persistence of this chronic inflammation that is obstructing airways could be a significant risk factor for lung cancer, especially in people who have a hereditary predisposition to smoking cigarettes. Evidence, also points to the possibility that lung cancer markers such as DNA damage, abnormal cellular proliferation, and mutation rates could be promoted by this chronic inflammation.

Yes, in some cases. Lung cancer is known to develop in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). A (2012) research published in the European Respiratory Journal said, ‘approximately 1% of COPD patients develop lung cancer every year, which may be associated with genetic susceptibility to cigarette smoke’.

In COPD, there is chronic inflammation in the lungs and obstruction to the airflow. When the chronic inflammation in the lungs persists for long, it can damage the lung tissues. A (2021) study shows that ‘during inflammation, the cell division rate, DNA damage, and cell mutation rate in lung tissue are increased’. An increase in all these factors can be a precursor for the development, growth and spread of cancer cells. This paper further suggests that inflammation prevents cell death – a hallmark condition for cancer cell multiplication.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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