Increased levels of free circulating DNA in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Int J Biol Markers. 2010 Oct-Dec;25(4):229-35.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is difficult to diagnose because of numerous interstitial lung diseases with similar symptoms. As serum DNA has proven useful for early lung cancer detection, we aimed to define the relevance of this marker in discriminating IPF from other fibrotic and nonfibrotic/nonmalignant lung diseases. DNA was quantified in 191 subjects: 64 healthy individuals, 58 patients with IPF, 17 patients with nonspecific pulmonary fibrosis (13 idiopathic nonspecific interstitial pneumonia, 4 chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis), and 52 patients with other diffuse/nonmalignant lung diseases. The median value of free DNA in IPF patients was 61.1 ng/mL (range 7.1-405), which was significantly higher than that of healthy donors (median 6.8, range 2.2-184) (p<0.001) and that of patients with other diffuse/nonmalignant lung diseases (median 28.0, range 4.2-281) (p=0.004). The area under the ROC curve was 0.926 (95% CI 0.879-0.973) when IPF patients were compared with healthy donors, and 0.702 (95% CI 0.609-0.796) when a comparison was made with non-IPF pulmonary diseases. In conclusion, we observed significantly higher levels of free circulating DNA in patients with IPF than in those with other fibrotic or diffuse/nonmalignant lung diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / diagnosis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA / blood*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias / diagnosis
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / epidemiology
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis


  • DNA