Lung cancer in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.Pulm Pharmacol Ther 2017; 45:1-10PP
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic fibrotic lung disease of unknown etiology. With a gradually increasing worldwide prevalence and a mortality rate exceeding that of many cancers, IPF diagnosis and management are critically important and require a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach. This approach also involves assessment of comorbid conditions, such as lung cancer, that exerts a dramatic impact on disease survival. Emerging evidence suggests that progressive lung scarring in the context of IPF represents a risk factor for lung carcinogenesis. Both disease entities present with major similarities in terms of pathogenetic pathways, as well as potential causative factors, such as smoking and viral infections. Besides disease pathogenesis, anti-cancer agents, including nintedanib, have been successfully applied in the treatment of patients with IPF while an oncologic approach with a cocktail of several pleiotropic anti-fibrotic agents is currently in the therapeutic pipeline of IPF. Nevertheless, epidemiologic association between IPF and lung cancer does not prove causality. Currently there is significant lack of knowledge supporting a direct association between lung fibrosis and cancer reflecting to disappointing therapeutic algorithms. An optimal therapeutic strategy for patients with both IPF and lung cancer represents an amenable need. This review article synthesizes the current state of knowledge regarding pathogenetic commonalities between IPF and lung cancer and focuses on clinical and therapeutic data that involve both disease entities.