There is limited data on the care and outcomes of individuals with both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, particularly in advanced disease. We hypothesized such patients would receive less cancer treatment and have worse outcomes.
We analyzed administrative data from the province of Ontario including demographics, hospitalization records, physician billings, cancer diagnosis, and treatments. COPD was defined using the ICES-derived COPD cohort (1996–2014) with data from 2002 to 2014. Descriptive statistics and multivariable analyses were undertaken.
Of 105 304 individuals with lung cancer, 43 375 (41%) had stage data and 36 738 (34.9%) had COPD. Those with COPD were likely to be younger, have a Charlson score ≤ 1, have lower income, to live rurally, and to have stage I/II lung cancer (29.8 vs 26.5%; all p<0.001). For the COPD population with stage I/II cancer, surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy were less likely (56.8 vs. 65.9% and 15.4 vs. 17.1%, respectively), while radiation was more likely (26.0 vs. 21.8%) (p all < 0.001). In the stage III/IV population, individuals with COPD received less chemotherapy (55.9 vs 64.4%) or radiation (42.5 vs 47.5%; all p<0.001). Inhaler and oxygen use was higher those with COPD, as were hospitalizations for respiratory infections and COPD exacerbations. On multivariable analysis, overall survival was worse among those with COPD (HR 1.20, 95% CI 1.19–1.22).
A co-diagnosis of COPD and lung cancer is associated with less curative treatment in early stage disease, less palliative treatment in late stage disease, and poorer outcomes.