Paraneoplastic pemphigus associated with bronchiolitis obliterans

Chest. 2000 Feb;117(2):603-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.117.2.603.


Paraneoplastic pemphigus (PNP) is an autoantibody-mediated mucocutaneous blistering disease associated with underlying neoplasms. Autoantibodies of PNP bind to the plakin family of cytoplasmic proteins and desmogleins of cell-surface target antigens. We describe a 36-year-old female patient with PNP who had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and who developed bronchiolitis obliterans and died of respiratory failure. Autopsy findings confirmed luminal narrowing of bronchioles by scarring, which is a histopathologic features of bronchiolitis obliterans. After the onset of respiratory failure, the reaction of autoantibodies against the plakins detected by immunoprecipitation at the onset of PNP disappeared with negative immunofluorescence within the bronchial epithelium. It is thought that autoantibodies against some of these antigens play a role in causing acute inflammation of the respiratory epithelium. In treating PNP, the possibility of the patient developing the lethal complication bronchiolitis obliterans should be kept in mind. Furthermore, prevention of the initial autoantibody-mediated injury to the respiratory epithelium should be an important treatment goal.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Bronchi / immunology
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / diagnosis*
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / pathology
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / pathology
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / pathology
  • Pemphigus / diagnosis*
  • Pemphigus / pathology
  • Respiratory Mucosa / immunology
  • Respiratory Mucosa / pathology


  • Autoantibodies