Commentary (Arora/Freifeld): Infectious Complications of Lung Cancer
February 01, 2005
The article by Dr. Seo providesa comprehensive review of theepidemiology, presentation, andtreatment of infection in lung cancerpatients. Infection is a significant causeof morbidity and mortality in cancerpatients, as a consequence of immunologicabnormalities that result from thecancer itself as well as from cytotoxiccancer therapies. Granulocytopenia andlymphocyte dysfunction commonlyoccur following intensive therapy formany solid tumors such as lung cancer,and these cellular deficiencies particularlypredispose patients to certain infections.Respiratory infections arecommon during the course of lung cancer,often as a result of direct effects onthe lung including radiation therapy andtumor burden causing obstruction, especiallywith bronchogenic carcinomasor carcinoid tumors. Postsurgical infections,following biopsy or thoracotomyfor resection, are also common.Infectious complications are problematicfor both patient and oncologistsbecause they may delay treatment andimpair quality of life.