COPD and lung cancer loom as two of our greatest challenges in pulmonary medicine. Both are smoking-related diseases that cluster in families and worsen with age. COPD and lung cancer are often related to smoking and/or various occupational exposures,1–2 but this remarkable association remains yet to be better studied and explained.
The pathogenesis of COPD is currently being understood through intense studies originating from many laboratories.3 Mechanisms in the pathogenesis of lung cancer are also being aggressively approached concurrently. Are these really two diseases or two manifestations of the same disease with genetic predisposition, smoking, and environmental exposures as common denominators? This commentary explores the pathogenesis of COPD and lung cancer and considers common factors in the association between these two rising killers.