Background: Diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia (DIPNECH) is characterised by multifocal proliferation of neuroendocrine cells and belongs in the spectrum of pulmonary neuroendocrine tumours. Some patients with DIPNECH develop airflow obstruction but the relationship between the two entities remains unclear. Methods: We performed a computer-assisted search of the Mayo Clinic’s electronic medical records for biopsy-proven cases of DIPNECH. We extracted clinical, pulmonary function, imaging and histopathological data along with treatments and outcomes. Results: Among 44 patients with DIPNECH 91% were female and the median age was 65 years (interquartile range 56–69 years); 73% were never-smokers. Overall, 38 patients (86%) had respiratory symptoms including cough (68%) and dyspnoea (30%); 45% were previously diagnosed to have asthma or COPD. Pulmonary function testing showed an obstructive pattern in 52%, restrictive pattern in 11%, mixed pattern in 9%, nonspecific pattern in 23%, and was normal in 5%. On chest computed tomography scan, 95% manifested diffuse nodules and 77% manifested mosaic attenuation. For management, 25% of patients were observed without pharmacological therapy, 55% received an inhaled bronchodilator, 41% received an inhaled corticosteroid, 32% received octreotide; systemic steroids, azithromycin, or combination chemotherapy was employed in four patients (9%). Of 24 patients with available follow-up pulmonary function tests, 50% remained stable, 33% worsened and 17% improved over a median interval of 21.3 months (interquartile range 9.7–46.9 months). Conclusion: DIPNECH occurs mostly in women and manifests diffuse pulmonary nodules and mosaic attenuation on imaging. It is commonly associated with airflow obstruction due to constrictive bronchiolitis, which manifests limited response to current pharmacological therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine