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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research

Lung cancer in patients with tuberculosis

Saulius Cicėnas* and Vladislavas Vencevičius

Author Affiliations

Department of Thoracic Surgery and Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Vilnius University, Santariskiu 1, Vilnius, Lithuania

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World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2007, 5:22  doi:10.1186/1477-7819-5-22

Published: 19 February 2007



Coexistent lung cancer and pulmonary tuberculosis is an urgent problem of thoracic surgery presenting a challenging task for diagnosis and surgical treatment.

Materials and methods

From 1990 to 2005, 2218 patients with lung cancer underwent surgical treatment in Department of Thoracic Surgery and Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Vilnius University. In 46 (2.1%) patients coexistence of lung cancer and tuberculosis was found. Central lung cancer was diagnosed in 37 (80.4%) and peripheral – in 9 (19.6%) patients. Epidermoid cancer was diagnosed in 24 (52.2%) patients, adenocarcinoma – in 10 (21.7%) and adenoepidermoid carcinoma – in 12 (26.1%) patients. Stage I cancer was diagnosed in 12 (26.1%), stage II – in 11 (23.9%), and stage IIIA – in 23 (50%) patients.


Pneumonectomy was performed in 18 (39.2%), lobectomy in 10 (21.7%), bilobectomy in 10 (21.7%), segmentectomy in 8 (17.4%) patients. Postoperative surgical complications were observed in 9 (19.5%) patients, non-surgical complications occurred in 19 patients (41.3%). Six patients (13.04%) died. Combined treatment was applied to 23 (50%) patients.


Coexistence of tuberculosis and lung cancer in thoracic surgery is fairly rare. This combination was diagnosed only in 46 cases (2.1%) out of 2218 operated lung cancer patients. Epidermoid carcinoma and stage IIIA disease was diagnosed in 50% of patients. Postoperative surgical complications occurred in 9 patients (19.5%) with lung cancer and tuberculosis. Six patients (13%) died in postoperative period. Surgery is the method of choice in treatment of combination of tuberculosis and lung cancer. Median survival of these patients was 28 ± 2 months.