Recent increase in the incidence of lung cancer often makes it difficult to differentiate between lung cancer and tuberculosis (TB), due to their radiologic similarities. Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) has been widely employed for the diagnosis of lung cancer and TB, but the diagnostic accuracy of TB is not high enough. As a rapid screening test for tuberculosis, we evaluated serological tests using Mycobacterium tuberculosis PPD and lipoarabinomannan (LAM) antigens. A total of 95 patients with indication of FNAB cytology from initial CT findings were enrolled. 25 patients had TB, 76 thoracic malignancy, and six (7.9%) of the lung cancer patients also had TB, indicating much higher prevalence of TB in thoracic tumor patients. Antibodies to PPD were elevated in 18 (72.0%) of 25 TB patients and in 22 (31.4%) of 70 patients with thoracic malignancy. In contrast, only 3 (4.7%) of 64 healthy controls aged 40 or above were seropositive to PPD antigen. The prevalence of anti-PPD antibodies in thoracic tumor patients was therefore significantly greater than that amongst the healthy controls (p<0.001, chi-square test). However, no significant difference in the prevalence of anti-LAM antibodies was found between study subjects and controls. This study demonstrates that thoracic tumor patients have significantly elevated antibodies to PPD; therefore, high anti-PPD seroreactivity in thoracic tumor patients should be cautiously interpreted. A longitudinal investigation on seropositive thoracic tumor patients is required to determine the role of the serological test for TB in lung cancer patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes