Diffuse Idiopathic Pulmonary Neuroendocrine Cell Hyperplasia: Imaging and Clinical Features of a Frequently Delayed Diagnosis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to assess features of diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia (DIPNECH) on CT, clinical presentation, and delays in radiologic and clinical diagnosis in a series of 32 patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Medical records of patients with DIPNECH from the years 2000-2017 were obtained from an institutional data warehouse. Inclusion criteria were an available CT examination and either a pathologic diagnosis of DIPNECH or pathologic findings of multiple carcinoid tumorlets or carcinoid tumor with CT features suggesting DIPNECH. Two thoracic radiologists with 10 and 14 years of experience reviewed CT examinations and scored cases in consensus. RESULTS. All 32 patients were women, and most had never smoked (69%). The mean age at presentation was 61 years. Symptoms included chronic cough (59%) or dyspnea (28%), and the initial clinical diagnosis was asthma in 41%. DIPNECH was clinically suspected at presentation in only one case and was mentioned by the interpreting radiologist in only 31% of cases. CT characteristics included numerous nodules with a lower zone and peribronchiolar predominance, mosaic attenuation, and nodular bronchial wall thickening. Number of nodules at least 5 mm in diameter showed strong inverse correlations with the percentage predicted for both forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 second and a moderate inverse correlation with total lung capacity percentage predicted. In cases with a follow-up CT interval of 3 years or longer, 85% of patients showed an increase in size of the largest nodule, and 70% had an increase in size in multiple nodules. CONCLUSION. Many cases of DIPNECH are originally missed or misdiagnosed by radiologists and clinicians. Awareness of the typical clinical and imaging features of DIPNECH may prompt earlier diagnosis of this condition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Little, BP; Junn, JC; Zheng, KS; Sanchez, FW; Henry, TS; Veeraraghavan, S; Berkowitz, EA

Published Date

  • December 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 215 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1312 - 1320

PubMed ID

  • 33021835

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1546-3141

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2214/AJR.19.22628


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States