Bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) is a serious complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Lung biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosis. This study describes the course of BO and assesses the congruity between biopsy-verified BO and a modified version of the National Institutes of Health's consensus criteria for BO syndrome (BOS) based exclusively on noninvasive measures. We included 44 patients transplanted between 2000 and 2010 who underwent lung biopsy for suspected BO. Of those, 23 were diagnosed with BO and 21 presented other noninfectious pulmonary pathologies, such as cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, diffuse alveolar damage, interstitial pneumonia, and nonspecific interstitial fibrosis. Compared with patients with other noninfectious pulmonary pathologies, BO patients had significantly lower values of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1/forced vital capacity, and maximal mid-expiratory flow throughout follow-up, but there was no difference in the change in pulmonary function from the time of lung biopsy. The BO diagnosis was not associated with poorer overall survival. Fifty-two percent of patients with biopsy-verified BO and 24% of patients with other noninfectious pulmonary pathology fulfilled the BOS criteria. Pathological BO diagnosis was not superior to BOS criteria in predicting decrease in pulmonary function beyond the time of biopsy. A lung biopsy may provide a characterization of pathological patterns that can extend our knowledge on the pathophysiology of HSCT-related lung diseases.
Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 2015, Vol 21, Issue 3, p. 531-8