Exacerbation of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias associated with lung cancer therapy

Intern Med. 2009;48(9):665-72. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.48.1650. Epub 2009 May 1.


Objective and methods: Idiopathic interstitial pneumonias (IIPs) frequently occur in association with lung cancer. However, there is no consensus on the best treatment of acute exacerbation of IIP in lung cancer patients (LC with IIP), including those with iatrogenic acute lung injury resulting from cancer treatments. We aimed to identify an appropriate strategy for treatment of this condition. We analyzed clinical features of 120 LC with IIP, retrospectively.

Results: The incidence of acute exacerbation related to anticancer treatment was 22.7%; when the incidence was examined separately for patients receiving chemotherapy or the best supportive care, the incidence was 20.0% and 31.3%, respectively. Additional investigations should be directed to finding suitable regimens for treatment of LC with IIP and the selection of appropriate patients with LC with IIP for chemotherapy. The incidence of acute exacerbation caused by combination regimens of carboplatin + paclitaxel or a platinum agent + etoposide was significantly lower than that of other regimens (0% vs. 18%, respectively; p=0.025, Fisher's Exact Test). Patients with high levels of C-reactive protein before chemotherapy had a significantly higher risk of developing acute exacerbation (odds ratio 5.60, p=0.028).

Conclusion: There was no evidence that anticancer treatment, including chemotherapy, should be avoided in LC with IIP. To establish an appropriate cancer treatment for LC with IIP, a prospective clinical study should be performed to evaluate various treatment modalities in a larger patient population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias / chemically induced
  • Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias / etiology*
  • Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends


  • Antineoplastic Agents