How is eosinophilic granuloma (histiocytosis X) treated?

Updated: Mar 29, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor M Summerhill, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Smoking cessation is the most important medical intervention for pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis X (PLCH). Smoking cessation often stabilizes the disease and sometimes leads to regression. It is also helpful in preventing bronchogenic carcinoma. Largely because of the rarity of PLCH, well-designed, prospective, randomized data regarding therapy are lacking.

The use of corticosteroids is controversial. Corticosteroids may be considered in patients with a persistence of clinically significant pulmonary or constitutional symptoms or those with documented progression of disease. Corticosteroid therapy is not indicated in patients with normal lung function. Recommendations for the use of corticosteroids are based largely on retrospective data and expert opinion.

Investigational therapies include interleukin-2 (IL-2) and anti–tumor necrosis factor-alpha (anti–TNF-alpha). Both agents have been reported to improve outcomes in pediatric disseminated histiocytosis. This finding may lead to the investigation of their use in adult PLCH.

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