Interstitial lung disease in clinically amyopathic dermatomyositis with and without anti-MDA-5 antibody: to lump or split?

BMC Pulm Med. 2015 Dec 9;15:159. doi: 10.1186/s12890-015-0154-4.


Background: Interstitial lung disease (ILD) associated with clinically amyopathic dermatomyositis (CADM-ILD) is often refractory and rapidly progressive. Although the anti-melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (anti-MDA-5) antibody is associated with rapidly progressive ILD (RP-ILD), differences in clinical features and prognosis of anti-MDA-5 antibody-positive and -negative CADM-ILD remain unclear.

Methods: To clarify the differences in the clinical features and prognosis between anti-MDA-5 antibody-positive and -negative cases, we retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients diagnosed with CADM-ILD with and without anti-MDA-5 antibody at Kurashiki Central Hospital from January 2005 to September 2014.

Results: Anti-MDA-5 antibody was found in 10 of 16 patients (63%). The levels of Krebs von den Lungen-6 (KL-6) and surfactant protein D (SP-D) at the first visit were significantly lower in positive patients than in negative patients, whereas the levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GTP), and the CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid were significantly higher in positive patients than negative patients. Subpleural ground-glass opacity (GGO) or irregular linear opacity was predominant in positive patients. Peribronchovascular consolidation was predominant in negative patients. Positive patients had significantly lower survival rates than negative patients, with all six fatal cases occurring in positive patients who died of refractory ILD within 92 days from the first visit despite intensive treatment.

Conclusions: There are clear differences in the clinical features and prognosis of anti-MDA-5 antibody-positive and -negative CADM-ILD. Low serum KL-6 and SP-D levels, high serum AST and γ-GTP levels, high CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio in BAL fluid, and predominance of subpleural GGO or irregular linear opacity in HRCT may help to discriminate anti-MDA-5 antibody-positive CADM-ILD with poor prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / immunology*
  • Dermatomyositis / drug therapy*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / complications*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Cyclosporine
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • IFIH1 protein, human
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases
  • Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1

Supplementary concepts

  • Amyopathic dermatomyositis