Patients with cancer are at an increased risk of tuberculosis. As pleural effusion has great clinical significance in patients with cancer, the differential diagnosis between tuberculous pleural effusion (TPE) and malignant pleural effusion (MPE) is important. However, the predictive factors and treatment outcomes of TPE in patients with cancer have rarely been studied.Materials and Methods
Confirmed TPE cases identified at cancer diagnosis and during anticancer management from 2008-2015 were retrospectively investigated. Patients in the study included coexisting TPE and cancer (n = 20), MPE (n = 40) and TPE without cancer (n = 40). Control groups were patients with MPE, and patients with TPE without cancer. Clinical, laboratory and pleural fluid characteristics were compared among groups. Treatment outcomes were compared between patients with TPE with and without cancer.Results
In the final analysis, serum C-reactive protein (S-CRP) ≥3.0 mg/dL and pleural fluid adenosine deaminase (ADA) ≥40 U/L were independent predictors for identifying TPE in patients with cancer having pleural effusion. The combination of S-CRP with pleural fluid ADA using an “or” rule achieved a sensitivity of 100%, whereas both parameters combined in an “and” rule had a specificity of 98%. Treatment outcomes were not different between the TPE groups with and without cancer.Conclusions
S-CRP and pleural fluid ADA levels may be helpful for predicting TPE in patients with cancer with pleural effusion. The combination of these biomarkers provides better information for distinguishing between TPE and MPE in these patients. Treatment outcomes of TPE in patients with cancer are comparable to those in patients without cancer.