Monocyte Count as a Prognostic Biomarker in Patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2021 Jul 1;204(1):74-81. doi: 10.1164/rccm.202003-0669OC.


Rationale: There is an urgent need for simple, cost-effective prognostic biomarkers for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF); biomarkers that show potential include monocyte count. Objectives: We used pooled data from pirfenidone and IFNγ-1b trials to explore the association between monocyte count and prognosis in patients with IPF. Methods: This retrospective pooled analysis included patients (active and placebo arms) from the following four phase III, randomized, placebo-controlled trials: ASCEND (NCT01366209), CAPACITY (NCT00287729 and NCT00287716), and INSPIRE (NCT00075998). Outcomes included IPF progression (≥10% absolute decline in FVC% predicted, ≥50 m decline in 6-minute-walk distance, or death), all-cause hospitalization, and all-cause mortality over 1 year. The relationship between monocyte count (defined as time-dependent) and outcomes was assessed using bivariate and multivariable models. Measurements and Main Results: This analysis included 2,067 patients stratified by monocyte count (at baseline: <0.60 × 109 cells/L [n = 1,609], 0.60 to <0.95 × 109 cells/L [n = 408], and ≥0.95 × 109 cells/L [n = 50]). In adjusted analyses, a higher proportion of patients with monocyte counts of 0.60 to <0.95 × 109 cells/L or ≥0.95 × 109 cells/L versus <0.60 × 109 cells/L experienced IPF progression (P = 0.016 and P = 0.002, respectively), all-cause hospitalization (P = 0.030 and P = 0.003, respectively), and all-cause mortality (P = 0.005 and P < 0.001, respectively) over 1 year. Change in monocyte count from baseline was not associated with any of the outcomes over 1 year and did not appear to be affected by study treatment. Conclusions: In patients with IPF, elevated monocyte count was associated with increased risks of IPF progression, hospitalization, and mortality. Monocyte count may provide a simple and inexpensive prognostic biomarker in IPF.

Keywords: biomarkers; prognosis; pulmonary fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / blood*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes*
  • Prognosis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment


  • Biomarkers

Associated data