Bronchiectasis is associated with lower lung function in lung cancer screening participants

Anastasia K.A.L. Kwee*, Bart Luijk, Pim A. de Jong, Harry J.M. Groen, Joachim G.J.V. Aerts, Jean Paul Charbonnier, Rozemarijn Vliegenthart, Firdaus A.A. Mohamed Hoesein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background and objective: 

Bronchiectasis is a frequent incidental finding on chest computed tomography (CT), but its relevance in lung cancer screening is not fully understood. We investigated the association between bronchiectasis and respiratory symptoms, pulmonary function, and emphysema in lung cancer screening participants with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Methods: 

We included 3260 (ex-)smokers from the Dutch-Belgian lung cancer screening trial (NELSON). Bronchiectasis was scored by chest radiologists. The relationship with pulmonary function (FEV1%predicted, FEV1/FVC), respiratory complaints (cough, dyspnea, wheezing, mucus hypersecretion), and CT-quantified emphysema (15th percentile) was examined with independent t-tests and multivariate regression.

Results: 

Bronchiectasis was present in 5.4% (n = 175/3260). There was no difference in prevalence between subjects with and without COPD (68/1121 [5.9%] vs. 109/2139 [5.1%]; p =.368). COPD subjects with bronchiectasis had a lower FEV1%predicted (76.2% vs. 85.0%; p <.001), lower FEV1/FVC (0.58 vs. 0.62; p <.001), and more emphysema (− 938 HU vs. − 930 HU; p =.001) than COPD subjects without bronchiectasis. In COPD subjects, bronchiectasis was independently associated with a lower FEV1%predicted (B = − 7.7; CI [− 12.3, − 3.3]), lower FEV1/FVC (B = − 2.5; CI [− 4.3, − 0.8]), more cough (OR 2.4; CI [1.3, 4.3]), more mucus hypersecretion (OR 1.8; CI [1.0, 3.1]) and more dyspnea (OR 2.3; CI [1.3, 3.9]). In those without COPD (n = 2139), bronchiectasis was associated with more cough, mucus hypersecretion, and wheezing, but not with deteriorating lung function. 

Conclusion: 

Bronchiectasis was present in 5.4% of our lung cancer screening participants and was associated with more respiratory symptoms and, in those with COPD, with lower lung function and more emphysema. Clinical relevance statement: In a lung cancer screening population, bronchiectasis has a prevalence of 5.4% with a mainly mild severity. This finding is of little clinical relevance unless mild COPD is also present. In those subjects, bronchiectasis was associated with a lower lung function, more respiratory symptoms, and more emphysema. Key Points: • Bronchiectasis was found in 5.4% of lung cancer screening participants, consisting of (ex-)smokers with and without mild COPD. • In those with mild COPD, bronchiectasis was associated with a lower lung function, more respiratory symptoms, and more emphysema. • Incidental findings of mild bronchiectasis are not very relevant in a lung cancer screening population, unless COPD is also present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4155-4162
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Radiology
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to European Society of Radiology.

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