AP-VAS 2012 case report: a case of ANCA-negative pauci-immune crescentic glomerulonephritis associated with IL-6-producing adenosquamous cell carcinoma of the lung

Research paper by Takashi Morikawa, Atsuhiro Yoshida, Shinya Kobayashi, Mikiko Shibata, Masahiro Hamada, Masatsugu Kishida, Chizuko Kitabayashi, Haruko Daga, Yoshio Konishi, Koji Takeda, Masahito Imanishi

Indexed on: 14 Mar '13Published on: 14 Mar '13Published in: CEN Case Reports


A 76-year-old man with lung cancer and multiple metastases was admitted for purpura and rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. Adenosquamous cell carcinoma of the lung had been diagnosed 6 months earlier. Two anti-cancer drug regimens had no effect. At admission, his survival with his malignancy was estimated to be several months. Renal biopsy revealed pauci-immune necrotizing crescentic glomerulonephritis (CrGN). Negative results were obtained for myeloperoxidase-anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) and proteinase-3-ANCA by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and for peripheral-ANCA and cytoplasmic-ANCA by indirect immunofluorescence. He was diagnosed with ANCA-negative pauci-immune CrGN. Although steroids were initiated, the patient died of renal failure and intestinal bleeding 2 weeks later. It was later found that cancer cells were positive for interleukin (IL)-6 and that serum IL-6 levels were significantly elevated, concomitantly with increased IL-8, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor and transforming growth factor-β levels. Some kinds of lung cancer are known to produce IL-6 that activate neutrophils and are related to ANCA-associated CrGN. It appears that IL-6 can activate neutrophils in the pathogenesis of ANCA-negative pauci-immune CrGN with lung cancer. Therapy that blocks IL-6 may prove to be effective in vasculitis and cancer-related symptoms in such cases.