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.