Giant cell interstitial pneumonia

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 4 Nov 2021

Giant cell interstitial pneumonia is a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis. It is currently considered a form of pneumoconiosis and in many situations is caused by exposure to metal compounds such as cobalt or tungsten carbide.

While some authors consider this term to be synonymous with or being almost pathognomonic of hard metal pneumoconiosis 5,7, there are certain situations where giant cell interstitial pneumonia is idiopathic and not associated with exposure to hard metal compounds 2,3.

  • exposure to hard metal compounds: strong
  • nitrofurantoin: possible 6

Giant cell interstitial pneumonia is characterized by the prominence of large, actively phagocytic alveolar giant cells of histiocytic origin in the presence of chronic interstitial pneumonia. Multinucleated type 2 granular pneumocytes may also be present 2.

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