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J Bras Pneumol. 2013 Jun-Aug;39(4):484-9. doi: 10.1590/S1806-37132013000400013.

Pulmonary tuberculosis and lung cancer: simultaneous and sequential occurrence.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, School of Medicine, Porto Alegre, Brazil.



Lung cancer (LC) is the leading cause of cancer-related death and represents a major public health problem worldwide. Another major cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in developing countries, is tuberculosis. The simultaneous or sequential occurrence of pulmonary tuberculosis and LC in the same patient has been reported in various case series and case-control studies. The objective of this study was to describe the characteristics of patients developing tuberculosis and LC, either simultaneously or sequentially.


This was a cross-sectional study based on the review of medical charts.


The study involved 24 patients diagnosed with tuberculosis and LC between 2009 and 2012. The diagnoses of tuberculosis and LC occurred simultaneously in 10 patients, whereas tuberculosis was diagnosed prior to LC in 14. The median time between the two diagnoses was 5 years (interquartile range: 1-30 years). Fourteen patients (58.3%) were male, 20 (83.3%) were White, and 22 (91.7%) were smokers or former smokers. The most common histological type was adenocarcinoma, identified in 14 cases (58.3%), followed by epidermoid carcinoma, identified in 6 (25.0%). Seven patients (29.2%) presented with distant metastases at diagnosis; of those 7 patients, 5 (71%) were diagnosed with LC and tuberculosis simultaneously.


In the present study, most of the patients with tuberculosis and LC were smokers or former smokers, and tuberculosis was diagnosed either before or simultaneously with LC. Non-small cell lung cancer, especially adenocarcinoma, was the most common histological type.

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