Coronary artery calcium is associated with long-term mortality from lung cancer: Results from the Coronary Artery Calcium Consortium

Omar Dzaye, Philipp Berning, Zeina A. Dardari, Daniel S. Berman, Matthew J. Budoff, Michael D. Miedema, Khurram Nasir, Alan Rozanski, John A. Rumberger, Leslee J. Shaw, Martin Bødtker Mortensen, Seamus P. Whelton, Michael J. Blaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores have been shown to be associated with CVD and cancer mortality. The use of CAC scores for overall and lung cancer mortality risk prediction for patients in the Coronary Artery Calcium Consortium was analyzed. Methods: We included 55,943 patients aged 44–84 years without known heart disease from the CAC Consortium. There were 1,088 cancer deaths, among which 231 were lung cancer, identified by death certificates with a mean follow-up of 12.2 ± 3.9 years. Fine-and-Gray competing-risk regression was used for overall and lung cancer-specific mortality, accounting for the competing risk of CVD death and after adjustment for CVD risk factors. Subdistribution hazard ratios (SHR) were reported. Results: The mean age of all patients was 57.1 ± 8.6 years, 34.9% were women, and 89.6% were white. Overall, CAC was strongly associated with cancer mortality. Lung cancer mortality increased with increasing CAC scores, with rates per 1000-person years of 0.2 (95% CI: 0.1–0.3) for CAC = 0 and 0.8 (95% CI: 0.6–1.0) for CAC ≥400. Compared with CAC = 0, hazards were increased for those with CAC ≥400 for lung cancer mortality [SHR: 1.7 (95% CI: 1.2–2.6)], which was driven by women [SHR: 2.3 (95% CI: 1.1–4.8)], but not significantly increased for men. Risks were higher in those with positive smoking history [SHR: 2.2 (95% CI: 1.2–4.2)], with associations driven by women [SHR: 4.0 (95% CI: 1.4–11.5)]. Conclusions: CAC scores were associated with increased risks for lung cancer mortality, with strongest associations for current and former smokers, especially in women. Used in conjunction with other clinical variables, our data pinpoint a potential synergistic use of CAC scanning beyond CVD risk assessment for identification of high-risk lung cancer screening candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-54
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Coronary arterial calcium
  • Lung cancer
  • Prevention
  • Risk prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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