Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: prognostic impact of histologic honeycombing in transbronchial lung cryobiopsy
Background: Prognostic evaluation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) may be important as it can guide management decisions, but the potential role of honeycomb changes in providing information about outcome and survival of patients with IPF, particularly if diagnosed using cryobiopsy, has not been evaluated. Aim of this study was to determinate whether a relationship exists between honeycombing on cryobiopsy and clinical/radiological picture and outcome in patients with IPF and to assess whether the same pathologic criteria that have been used to define the UIP pattern (usual interstitial pneumonia) for surgical biopsy can also be applied to cryobiopsy. Methods: Sixty-three subjects with a multidisciplinary diagnosis of IPF and a UIP pattern on cryobiopsy were evaluated. Patients were classified into two sub-groups depending on the presence of honeycombing on histology. Results: The presence of honeycombing on cryobiopsy did not identify a specific phenotype of patients as it did not correlate with radiological and clinical picture and it was not associated neither with the risk of death (p = 0. 1192) or with the event-free survival (p = 0.827); a higher number of samples and the presence of pleura on biopsy were instead associated with an increase in the finding of honeycombing. Conclusions: The same pathologic criteria that have been used to define the UIP pattern in surgical biopsies (with honeycombing changes considered as non-mandatory for the definition of the pattern itself) can be applied to cryobiopsy samples, as the presence of these changes do not define different clinical or radiological phenotypes of patients with IPF.
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