Background: Treatment of autoimmune pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (aPAP) by subcutaneous injection or inhaled therapy of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) has been demonstrated to be safe and efficacious in several reports. However, some reports of subcutaneous injection described transient benefit in most instances. The durability of response to inhaled GM-CSF therapy is not well characterized.
Methods: To elucidate the risk factors for recurrence of aPAP after GM-CSF inhalation, 35 patients were followed up, monitoring for the use of any additional PAP therapies and disease severity score every 6 months. Physiologic, serologic, and radiologic features of the patients were analyzed for the findings of 30-month observation after the end of inhalation therapy.
Results: During the observation, 23 patients remained free from additional treatments, and twelve patients required additional treatments. There were no significant differences in age, sex, symptoms, oxygenation indexes, or anti-GM-CSF antibody levels at the beginning of treatment between the two groups. Baseline vital capacity (% predicted, %VC) were higher among those who required additional treatment (P<.01). Those patients not requiring additional treatment maintained the improved disease severity score initially achieved. A significant difference in the time to additional treatment between the high %VC group (%VC≥80.5) and the low %VC group was seen by a Kaplan-Meier analysis and a log-rank test (P<.0005).
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that inhaled GM-CSF therapy sustained remission of aPAP in more than one-half of cases, and baseline %VC might be a prognostic factor for disease recurrence.
Trial registry: ISRCTN Register and JMACCT Clinical Trial Registry; No.: ISRCTN18931678 and JMAIIA00013; URL: http://www.isrctn.org and http://www.jmacct.med.or.jp.