Introduction: The prevalence of bronchiectasis in the general population and in individuals undergoing lung cancer screening with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) is unknown. The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence and impact of bronchiectasis in a screening lung cancer program.
Methods: 3028 individuals participating in an international multicenter lung cancer screening consortium (I-ELCAP) were selected from 2000 to 2012. Patients with bronchiectasis on baseline CT were identified and compared to selected controls. Detection of nodules, need for additional studies and incidence of cancer were analyzed over the follow-up period.
Results: The prevalence of bronchiectasis was 11.6%(354/3028). On the baseline LDCT, the number of subjects with nodules identified was 189(53.4%) in patients with bronchiectasis compared to 63(17.8%) in controls (p<0.001). The occurrence of false positives was higher in subjects with bronchiectasis (26%vs17%;p = 0.003). During follow-up, new nodules were more common among subjects with bronchiectasis (17%vs.12%; p = 0.008). The total number of false positives during follow-up was 29(17.06%) for patients with bronchiectasis vs. 88(12.17%) for controls (p = 0.008).The incidence rate of lung cancer during follow-up was 6.8/1000 and 5.1/1000 person-years for each group respectively (p = 0.62).
Conclusions: Bronchiectasis are common among current and former smokers undergoing lung cancer screening with LDCT. The presence of bronchiectasis is associated with greater incidence of new nodules and false positives on baseline and follow-up screening rounds. This leads to an increase need of diagnostic tests, although the lung cancer occurrence is not different.