Increased Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Lung Cancer Survivors: A Korean Nationwide Study of 20,458 Patients


With advances in lung cancer treatments, the number of lung cancer survivors has increased. As cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are some of the major causes of non-cancer deaths, CVD management is an integral part of cancer survivorship care. However, there is sparsity of data on cardiovascular risk in lung cancer survivors who underwent lung cancer surgery. We aimed to compare the incidence of CVD between lung cancer survivors and the general non-cancer population.


Using the Korean National Health Insurance Service Database, we selected 20,458 patients who underwent surgery for lung cancer between 2007 and 2013. Study outcome variables were coronary heart disease (CHD), myocardial infarction (MI), ischemic stroke (IS), and death. Patients were followed until 2016.


A total of 20,458 lung cancer patients undergoing lung cancer surgery were compared to 27,321 non-cancer control subjects. Lung cancer survivors showed a greater risk for all cardiovascular (CV) events (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 1.27, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.19-1.36), CHD (aHR = 1.26, 95% CI: 1.16-1.36), and IS (aHR = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.07-1.39). Chemotherapy and radiotherapy were associated with an increased risk of CV events, CHD, and MI. Lung cancer survivors who were CV event-free for one year, and up to three years, were still at a higher risk for all CV events compared to the non-cancer control population.


Lung cancer survivors showed an increased risk of CHD and IS compared with the general non-cancer population. Therefore, paying careful attention to cardiovascular risk in lung cancer survivors is suggested, especially for those who receive chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, in order to ensure both early and long-term survivorship.