High cytomegalovirus serology and subsequent copd-related mortality: A longitudinal study

Raffaella Nenna, Jing Zhai, Samuel E. Packard, Amber Spangenberg, Duane L Sherrill, Fernando D. Martinez, Marilyn Halonen, Stefano Guerra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Positive serology for cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been associated with all-cause mortality risk but its role in COPD mortality is unknown. The objective of the present study was to assess the relationship between CMV serology and COPD mortality. Methods: We analysed data from 806 participants in the Tucson Epidemiological Study of Airway Obstructive Disease who, at enrolment, were aged 28–70 years and had completed lung function tests. We tested CMV serology in sera from enrolment and defined “high CMV serology” as being in the highest tertile. Vital status, date and cause of death were assessed through death certificates and/or linkage with the National Death Index up to January 2017. The association of CMV serology with all-cause and cause-specific mortality risk was tested in Cox models adjusted for age, sex, level of education, body mass index, smoking status and pack-years. Results: High CMV serology was marginally associated with all-cause mortality (p=0.071) but the effect was inversely dependent on age, with the association being much stronger among participants <55 years than among participants ⩾55 years at enrolment (p-value for CMV-by-age interaction <0.001). Compared with low CMV serology, high CMV serology was associated with mortality from COPD among all subjects (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 2.38, 95% CI 1.11–5.08; p=0.025) and particularly in subjects <55 years old at enrolment (HR 5.40, 95% CI 1.73–16.9; p=0.004). Consistent with these results, high CMV serology also predicted mortality risk among subjects who already had airflow limitation at enrolment (HR 2.10, 95% CI 1.20–3.68; p=0.009). Conclusions: We report a strong relationship between CMV serology and the risk of dying from COPD, and thus identify a novel risk factor for COPD mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00062-2020
JournalERJ Open Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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