Interstitial lung disease associated with amrubicin chemotherapy in patients with lung cancer: a single institutional study

Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2016 Jul;46(7):674-80. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyw043. Epub 2016 May 9.


Objective: Amrubicin, which is used as a chemotherapeutic agent for lung cancer, can induce interstitial lung disease. There is insufficient evidence on the incidence of amrubicin-associated interstitial lung disease under practical use settings. We therefore investigated the occurrence of interstitial lung disease in the patients with lung cancer who received amrubicin in our institution.

Methods: We reviewed the data of all patients with lung cancer who received amrubicin at the Nippon Medical School Hospital from March 2002 to April 2015. Interstitial lung disease was diagnosed based on clinical symptoms, radiographic findings and the exclusion of other diseases.

Results: We reviewed 92 consecutive patients with lung cancer. Amrubicin-associated interstitial lung disease occurred in 3 of the 92 patients (3.3%): 2 were definite interstitial lung disease and 1 was possible interstitial lung disease. The severity of interstitial lung disease was mild to moderate, and interstitial lung disease improved with or without corticosteroid therapy in all cases. The findings in a computed tomography image analysis showed preexisting pulmonary fibrosis (n = 13), including interstitial pneumonitis (n = 10) and radiation fibrosis (n = 3). No patients showed the presence of honeycomb lung. Among the 13 patients, 1 (7.7%) developed interstitial lung disease after amrubicin chemotherapy.

Conclusion: Interstitial lung disease occurred in 3.3% of the patients in our study; this appeared to be less frequent than the rates in previous reports. Preexisting pulmonary fibrosis may be a risk factor for interstitial lung disease; however, no fatal cases were found among the patients with asymptomatic pulmonary fibrosis without honeycomb lung. It is thus considered to be necessary to carefully assess the possibility of preexisting pulmonary fibrosis and clarify the presence or absence of honeycomb lung before starting amrubicin chemotherapy.

Keywords: amrubicin; interstitial lung disease; lung cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthracyclines / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / chemically induced*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors


  • Anthracyclines
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • amrubicin