What is the role of biopsy in the diagnosis of eosinophilic granuloma (histiocytosis X)?

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

Although the disease is present in a patchy distribution, sometimes transbronchial biopsy may be diagnostic if sampling is done in a number of areas and sufficient tissue is obtained. Immunostaining for Langerhans cells (CD1a) improves the sensitivity and specificity of the biopsy sample. The diagnostic yield is approximately 10-40%.

Open or thoracoscopic lung biopsy is the most sensitive and specific diagnostic modality, and is generally recognized as the criterion standard. In addition to immunostaining, electron microscopy of tissue samples may be performed. Langerhans cells demonstrate the characteristic intracytoplasmic Birbeck granules. These are found in all Langerhans cells, but they are present in increased numbers in the pathologic Langerhans cells found in the lesions of PLCH.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!