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Mayo Clin Proc. 2003 May;78(5):630-4.

Upper lobe pulmonary fibrosis associated with high-dose chemotherapy containing BCNU for bone marrow transplantation.

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Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 13400 Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.


Upper lobe fibrotic lung disease is most often associated with sarcoidosis, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, silicosis, and other pneumoconioses but is usually not associated with drug-induced lung disease. Carmustine (BCNU) is a chemotherapeutic agent known to cause pulmonary toxicity. The radiographic pattern is usually diffuse bilateral lung disease predominantly in the lung bases. Upper lobe fibrotic disease associated with BCNU has been reported to occur in children treated for central nervous system gliomas. Often the lung disease occurs years after the exposure. Despite the widespread use of BCNU in the treatment of malignancy in adults, to our knowledge, the complication of upper lobe fibrotic disease has not been reported in adults. We describe a patient who presented with pneumothorax and bilateral upper lobe pulmonary fibrosis that we believe was due to BCNU given for bone marrow transplantation as part of therapy for breast cancer. Bilateral upper lobe pulmonary fibrosis can be associated with chemotherapeutic drugs.

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