Cellular analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid to narrow differential diagnosis of checkpoint inhibitor-related pneumonitis in metastatic melanoma.

Sabino Strippoli, Livia Fucci, Antonio Negri, Daniela Putignano, Marco Luigi Cisternino, Gaetano Napoli, Ruggiero Filannino, Ivana De Risi, Angela Monica Sciacovelli, Michele Guida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The diagnosis of check-point inhibitor-related pneumonitis (CIP) relies on radiological and clinical patterns which are not specific and can mimic other conditions (cancer progression, infectious diseases or interstitial pneumonitis). Cell pattern analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) is well-known to support the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease; nevertheless, this analysis is somewhat performed and not required by immune-toxicity management guidelines for CIP. Methods: We performed BAL analysis in 5 metastatic melanoma (MM) patients who developed CIP among 112 patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors. We also correlated the BAL features with the computed tomography (CT) scan patterns and with various peripheral blood parameters to better define the profile of this patient population. Results: BAL flow cytometer and cytopathology analyses showed typical and homogeneous features with increased lymphoid population, prevalent CD8 + T cells and inversion of the CD4/CD8 ratio. Moreover, the extent of activated CD3 + HLA-DR + T cells was related to the grading of adverse events. Blood leucocytosis, hypoxemia, normal values for procalcitonin and lactate dehydrogenase were also found together with a cryptogenic organizing pneumonia-like radiologic pattern. In all our patients, CIP was associated with partial or complete response. Conclusions: Identification of a specific BAL cellular pattern allows clinicians to place this investigation in the appropriate position of CIP diagnosis and management to avoid misdiagnosis or considering this condition as progressive disease and delaying proper treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number473
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 10 2020

Keywords

  • Check-point inhibitor
  • Immune-toxicity
  • Interstitial pneumonitis
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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