Clinical response of rheumatoid arthritis-associated pulmonary fibrosis to tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibition

Chest. 2002 Sep;122(3):1093-6. doi: 10.1378/chest.122.3.1093.


Treatment options for patients with pulmonary fibrosis associated with rheumatoid disease are limited. We report a case of a 71-year-old man with a 3-year history of seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) referred to the pulmonary clinic because of progressive pulmonary symptoms associated with radiographic fibrosis that was progressive in spite of corticosteroid treatment. In an attempt to control his articular symptoms and alter the course of his pulmonary fibrosis, treatment with IV infusion of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitor infliximab was initiated. Following 1 year of therapy with this agent, the patient reported sustained improvement in dyspnea, cough, and exercise tolerance, in addition to improvement in joint symptoms. Stabilization of pulmonary function was indicated by repeat pulmonary function test findings. This report suggests that inhibition of TNF-alpha may be of significant benefit to patients with fibrosing lung conditions in the setting of RA.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antirheumatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infliximab
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Infliximab