Clinical significance of cigarette smoking and dust exposure in pulmonary alveolar proteinosis: A Korean national survey

Ji An Hwang, Joo Han Song, Jung Hoon Kim, Man Pyo Chung, Dong Soon Kim, Jin Woo Song, Young Whan Kim, Sun Mi Choi, Seung Ick Cha, Soo Taek Uh, Choon Sik Park, Sung Hwan Jeong, Yong Bum Park, Hong Lyeol Lee, Jong Wook Shin, Eun Joo Lee, Yangjin Jegal, Hyun Kyung Lee, Jong Sun Park, Moo Suk Park

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study aimed to investigate clinical characteristics of Korean PAP patients and to examine the potential risk factors of PAP. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of 78 Korean PAP patients diagnosed between 1993 and 2014. Patients were classified into two groups according to the presence/absence of treatment (lavage). Clinical and laboratory features were compared between the two groups. Results: Of the total 78 PAP patients, 60% were male and median age at diagnosis was 47.5 years. Fifty three percent were ever smokers (median 22 pack-years) and 48% had a history of dust exposure (metal 26.5%, stone or sand 20.6%, chemical or paint 17.7%, farming dust 14.7%, diesel 14.7%, textile 2.9%, and wood 2.9%). A history of cigarette smoking or dust exposure was present in 70.5% of the total PAP patients, with 23% having both of them. Patients who underwent lavage (n = 38) presented symptoms more frequently (38/38 [100%] vs. 24/40 [60%], P < 0.001) and had significantly lower PaO2 and DLCO with higher D(A-a)O2 at the onset of disease than those without lavage (n = 40) (P = 0.006, P < 0.001, and P = 0.036, respectively). Correspondingly, the distribution of disease severity score (DSS) differed significantly between the two groups (P = 0.001). Based on these, when the total patients were categorized according to DSS (low DSS [DSS 1-2] vs. high DSS [DSS 3-5]), smoking status differed significantly between the two groups with the proportion of current smokers significantly higher in the high DSS group (11/22 [50%] vs. 7/39 [17.9%], P = 0.008). Furthermore, current smokers had meaningfully higher DSS and serum CEA levels than non-current smokers (P = 0.011 and P = 0.031), whereas no difference was found between smokers and non-smokers. Regarding type of exposed dust, farming dust was significantly associated with more severe form of PAP (P = 0.004). Conclusion: A considerable proportion of PAP patients had a history of cigarette smoking and/or dust exposure, suggestive of their possible roles in the development of PAP. Active cigarette smoking at the onset of PAP is associated with the severity of PAP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number147
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 21
Externally publishedYes


  • Disease severity
  • Dust exposure
  • Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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