Urgent need for new guidelines to best manage IPF and lung cancer

A summary of research published in ERJ Open Research

Between 3% and 22% of people living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) develop lung cancer. Treatments for lung cancer are associated with a higher risk of death for people with IPF. At the moment, there is worldwide variation on how best to manage and treat people living with both conditions. This new study aimed to summarise this variation and the reasons why a new set of guidelines on how best to help these people is needed.

What did the study look at?

The study used a questionnaire to gather information from healthcare professionals in 68 different countries, across 5 continents. Almost 500 people were asked 25 questions. The questions covered a range of topics including:

  • How common are lung cancer cases in people with IPF?
  • What approaches are used to screen people with IPF for lung cancer?
  • How is lung cancer diagnosed in people with IPF?
  • How is lung cancer treated in people with IPF?

What do the results show?

The results found that both the diagnosis and the management of people with IPF and lung cancer varied widely between countries. 93% of those asked agreed that a consensus statement (set guidance that is widely agreed upon and used by most or all specialists) for how to best manage this group of people was necessary.

Why is this important?

The survey reveals large differences in how people who are living with IPF and get lung cancer are diagnosed and managed. The authors believe this is mainly from a lack of knowledge and uncertainty among healthcare professionals in key areas of this field. They believe that a consensus statement on the topic would improve this and would also lead to future research that could have a major impact on survival and quality of life for people living with the conditions.

Read the original research paper

The DIAMORFOSIS (DIAgnosis and Management Of lung canceR and FibrOSIS) survey. International survey and call for consensus, read more.