Clinico-epidemiological features of pulmonary histiocytosis X

Intern Med. 2001 Oct;40(10):998-1003. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.40.998.


Objective: To define the clinico-epidemiological features of pulmonary histiocytosis X in Japan.

Methods: A nationwide survey was carried out in 1997 using two questionnaires.

Results: The first questionnaire, which attempted to determine the number of patients during 1996, revealed that the number of patients treated at hospitals with 200 or more beds during the one-year period was estimated to be 160 (95% confidence interval: 140-180). The estimated crude prevalence among those aged 16 to 70 years was calculated as 0.27 and 0.07 per 100,000 population in males and females, respectively. The second questionnaire was concerned with the clinico-epidemiological features of the disease. Seventy-three histologically diagnosed patients were evaluated. It primarily afflicted younger adults, between the ages of 20 and 50, and showed a male predominance. Over 90% of the patients were smokers or ex-smokers and over 50% started smoking before 20 years of age, suggesting a strong association with cigarette smoking. Steroid therapy was applicable to 34% of the patients. In the patients who received steroid therapy, regression and stabilization were observed in 28% and deterioration in 36%. As for the patients for whom steroids were not required, remission occurred in 63% and progression in 10%. The ratio of remissions plus stabilization was higher in the patients who were not treated with steroids compared with those who required steroid therapy (p<0.05).

Conclusion: In patients with pulmonary histiocytosis X therapeutic results obtained with steroids seemed not to be encouraging, although steroids are thought to be the most plausible treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell* / complications
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell* / drug therapy
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell* / epidemiology
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell* / etiology
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumothorax / etiology
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Steroids
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Steroids