Abstract: Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), mainly anti-myeloperoxidase (MPO) antibodies, have been frequently identified in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). However, their role remains unclear, and only 7-23% of these patients develops clinically overt vasculitis. We aimed to investigate the clinical, serological, and radiological features and prognosis of anti-MPO-positive interstitial lung disease (ILD) patients. Fifty-eight consecutive patients firstly referred for idiopathic interstitial pneumonia and showing serological positivity of anti-MPO antibodies were retrospectively enrolled. For each patient, clinical data, lung function testing, chest high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) pattern, and survival were recorded. Thirteen patients developed a rheumatic disease during a median follow-up of 39 months. Usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) was the most frequent ILD pattern, significantly influencing the patients' survival. In fact, while the 52-week survival of the overall population was 71.4 ± 7.5%, significantly higher than IPF, survivals of anti-MPO patients with UIP pattern and IPF were similar. Forced vital capacity and diffusion lung capacity for CO significantly declined in 37.7 and 41.5% of cases, respectively, while disease progression at chest HRCT was observed in 45.2%. A careful clinical history and evaluation should always be performed in ILD patients with anti-MPO antibodies to quickly identify patients who are developing a systemic rheumatic disease.
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