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Lung Cancer and Infectious Agents

Lung cancer is the most common non-AIDS-defining malignancy in HIV-infected people. DCEG investigators have demonstrated that people with AIDS have an almost four-fold significant increased risk of lung cancer. Using a lung cancer risk prediction model, investigators showed that under plausible assumptions regarding tobacco use, a high prevalence of smoking could not entirely explain the elevated risk in people with AIDS.

Building on these observations, DCEG investigators have conducted mechanistic studies on lung cancer. In a case-control study nested within the PLCO cohort, they have demonstrated increased lung cancer risk associated with serologic evidence for chronic infection by Chlamydia pneumoniae and an association with elevated levels of C-reactive protein. Additionally, in studies in China and Finland, investigators demonstrated elevated risk of lung cancer in cohorts of people with tuberculosis, a chronic infection associated with substantial lung scarring. Together, these findings support the hypothesis that chronic infection, inflammation, and scarring play a role in the etiology of lung cancer.

For more information, contact Eric Engels.

Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch – Research Areas