GLILD Revisited: Pulmonary Pathology of Common Variable and Selective IgA Immunodeficiency

Brandon T. Larsen, Maxwell L. Smith, Henry D. Tazelaar, Eunhee S. Yi, Jay H. Ryu, Andrew Churg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) and selective immunoglobulin A deficiency (IgAD) often cause chronic lung disease, but the pulmonary pathologic features of these systemic diseases are poorly recognized by pathologists. It has been claimed that CVID cases show a characteristic combination of noncaseating granulomas-lymphoid proliferations termed granulomatous-lymphocytic interstitial lung disease (GLILD). We present 34 surgical lung biopsy cases of CVID and 4 of IgAD. Noncaseating granulomas were seen in 23/34 (68#x00025;) CVID and 2/4 (50#x00025;) IgAD cases. A statistically identical pattern of benign lymphoid proliferation was found in CVID and IgAD whether or not granulomas were present. Organizing pneumonia, sometimes considered a part of GLILD, was seen in 25/34 (74#x00025;) CVID and 2/4 (50#x00025;) IgAD cases and did not correlate with the presence of granulomas. On follow-up, 3 CVID patients died (only 1 of pulmonary disease), while 21 others are alive at 1 to 300 months with no difference by presence or absence of granulomas. Three IgAD patients with follow-up are alive. We conclude that CVID and IgAD are indistinguishable in surgical lung biopsies and a subset of both show patterns that would qualify as GLILD, while other cases lack granulomas but have identical patterns of lymphoid infiltration and organizing pneumonia. We suggest that GLILD is neither a specific nor a useful entity, and biopsies from CVID and IgAD patients should be diagnosed simply by microscopic pattern(s) observed. The prognosis of CVID with lymphoid infiltrates with or without granulomas in this series was good, contrary to claims in the literature about GLILD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1081
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • common variable immunodeficiency
  • granulomatous-lymphocytic interstitial lung disease
  • selective IgA deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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