Respiratory symptoms, lung function tests, airway responsiveness, and bronchoalveolar lymphocyte subsets in B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Lung. 1993;171(5):265-75. doi: 10.1007/BF03215870.


A respiratory questionnaire was completed and spirometry, tests for lung volumes, diffusion capacity for CO, and methacholine bronchial challenge were performed in 24 outpatients with B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL), aged 44-79, presenting in different stages of their disease. In 10 patients, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was also obtained. Ten of twenty-four patients had symptoms consistent with chronic bronchitis, unrelated both to smoking history and to the clinical stage. Abnormal values (< 2 SD) were found in 4 patients for total lung capacity (TLC), in 9 for vital capacity (VC), 8 for forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1), 11 for MEF50, 15 for MEF25 and in 7 for diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide. Seven of nineteen patients had PD20FEV1 at less than 1,600 micrograms of methacholine chloride. There was a significantly negative correlation between white blood cell count and VC (r = 0.41, P < 0.05). A positive correlation was found between PD20FEV1 and FEV1/VC (r = 0.61, P < 0.01). The mean and SEM for BAL cells/ml was 463 (71.8) x 10(3). No leukemic cells but a marked increase in T lymphocytes (32.5 +/- 7.8%) were found in BAL fluid. There were significantly negative correlations between the number of BAL CD3+ T lymphocytes and PD20FEV1 (r = 0.61, P < 0.05), and between the number of BAL CD8+ T lymphocytes and PD20FEV1 (r = 0.84, P < 0.01). In conclusion, patients with B-CLL have a high prevalence of respiratory symptoms, small airway dysfunction and CD8 "alveolitis" related to airway responsiveness; despite the well-known lung interstitial lymphocyte infiltration in B-CLL, leukemic cells are not found in BAL fluid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / pathology
  • Leukemic Infiltration / immunology*
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung Volume Measurements*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*