Elevation of tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens in patients with diffuse panbronchiolitis

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 Sep;148(3):744-51. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/148.3.744.


We investigated the serum levels of the tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens sialyl SSEA-1 (SLX) and sialyl Lewis(a) (CA19-9) in patients with diffuse panbronchiolitis (DPB) and other nonmalignant lung diseases. Both antigens were high in the serum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of patients with DPB, bronchiectasis (BE), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and interstitial pneumonia associated with collagen vascular disease (CVD). Markedly high levels of the antigens were demonstrated in the serum and BALF from patients with DPB. An immunohistochemical study of open-lung biopsy specimens from patients with DPB indicated that these antigens were selectively expressed on the bronchiolar epithelial cells and mucinous exudates in airspaces. Low-dose, long-term erythromycin (EM) treatment was recently reported to be effective for DPB, and we investigated its influence on serum and BALF antigen levels in DPB patients. Antigen levels in both serum and BALF decreased after EM treatment, with improvement of symptoms and laboratory data, and there was a significant correlation between the reduction in the SLX level in serum and neutrophil percentage in BALF pre- and post-EM treatment. Our result suggests that secreted carbohydrate antigens from the bronchiolar epithelium in DPB may appear in the serum as a result of airway damage in the lower respiratory tract, and serum levels of the antigens may be decreased by a reduction in neutrophils in BALF after EM treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate / analysis*
  • Biopsy
  • Bronchiolitis / drug therapy
  • Bronchiolitis / immunology*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Erythromycin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lewis X Antigen / analysis
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate
  • Lewis X Antigen
  • Erythromycin