What causes eosinophilic granuloma (histiocytosis X)?

Updated: Mar 29, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor M Summerhill, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

No occupational causes or geographic predispositions are recognized for pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis X (PLCH). People with PLCH, almost invariably, are cigarette smokers. Antigenic stimulation from 1 or more components of tobacco smoke is likely responsible for the disease. Because only a few tobacco smokers develop the disease, other susceptibility factors, such as host genetics and environmental exposures, most likely play an important role in pathogenesis. Some reports in the literature also describe PLCH developing following radiation and/or chemotherapy for lymphoma. Additional investigation is needed to further our understanding of this disease process.


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