Original Article

Serum KL-6 and surfactant protein-D as monitoring and predictive markers of interstitial lung disease in patients with systemic sclerosis and mixed connective tissue disease

Hideaki Yamakawa, Eri Hagiwara, Hideya Kitamura, Yumie Yamanaka, Satoshi Ikeda, Akimasa Sekine, Tomohisa Baba, Koji Okudela, Tae Iwasawa, Tamiko Takemura, Kazuyoshi Kuwano, Takashi Ogura


Background: Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is frequent complication of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD). The disease is heterogeneous, and its outcome is unpredictable. Some patients have severe and progressive deterioration of ILD, which is the leading cause of mortality. We aimed to determine whether serum levels of Krebs von den Lungen-6 (KL-6) and surfactant protein-D (SP-D) correlate with SSc/MCTD-associated ILD activity.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 40 patients with SSc/MCTD-associated ILD: 29 patients with SSc and 11 patients with MCTD. Measurement of serum KL-6 and SP-D levels, pulmonary function tests, and high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) performed in parallel were reviewed.
Results: Serum KL-6 correlated positively with diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) (% predicted) and disease extent on HRCT, and the changes in serum levels of KL-6 were significantly related to the changes in forced vital capacity (FVC) in SSc/MCTD-associated ILD. On the other hand, multivariate logistic regression analyses with calculation of the area under the curve of the receiver-operating characteristic curve suggested that a higher serum level of SP-D was a significant predictor of FVC decline in SSc/MCTD-associated ILD.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that serum KL-6 can be a useful monitoring tool of SSc/MCTD-associated ILD activity. In contrast, serum SP-D may be a significant predictor of potential FVC decline in the short term.

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