Smoking-related interstitial lung disease

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2008 Dec;12(6):445-57. doi: 10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2008.10.001.


Pulmonary diseases associated with tobacco smoking are a complex group of disorders ranging from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to lung cancer. Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) have only recently been linked to smoking. The ILDs related to smoking include respiratory bronchiolitis-associated interstitial lung disease, desquamative interstitial pneumonia, and pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis. The relationship of smoking with each of these entities has been largely established on the weight of epidemiologic evidence. Although they have been retained as distinct and separate conditions in various classifications of interstitial lung diseases, these 3 entities share a number of clinical, radiologic, and pathologic features suggesting that they represent a spectrum of patterns of interstitial lung disease occurring in predisposed individuals who smoke. Evaluation of histologic features, particularly in surgical lung biopsy samples, is important in making the distinction between these disorders. However, even after tissue biopsy, it may sometimes be difficult to clearly separate these entities. The importance of making the distinction between them lies in the different clinical management strategies used. Further experimental evidence, including genetic information, may be important in improving our understanding of these diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Bronchiolitis / classification
  • Bronchiolitis / epidemiology
  • Bronchiolitis / pathology
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / classification
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / epidemiology
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / classification*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / epidemiology*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / pathology
  • Smoking / adverse effects*