Is the presence of lung injury in COVID-19 an independent risk factor for secondary lung cancer?

Lung Cancer

Tao SL, et al. Med Hypotheses 2020.


The morbidity and mortality of lung cancer are increasing. The Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV-2, leading to subsequent pulmonary interstitial fibrosis with chronic inflammatory changes, e.g., inflammatory factors repeatedly continuously stimulating and attacking the alveolar epithelial cells. Meanwhile, 2019-nCoV-2 can activate PI3K/Akt and ERK signaling pathways, which can play the double roles as both anti-inflammatory and carcinogenic factors.

Moreover, hypoxemia may be developed, resulting in the up-regulation of HIF-1 α expression, which can be involved in the occurrence, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis of lung cancer. Additionally, the immune system in 2019-nCoV-2 infected cases can be suppressed to cause tumor immune evasion. Therefore, we speculate that COVID-19 may be a risk factor of secondary lung cancer.