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Five simple reasons to discard DIP, or why we should stop calling dolphins big fish

Abstract

The aim of this review is to explain why the term ‘desquamative interstitial pneumonia’ (DIP) should be discarded and replaced with modern terminology. Reason 1: DIP is a misnomer. Within a few years after the term was coined, it was shown that the airspace cells in DIP are macrophages not desquamated pneumocytes. Reason 2: As a result of overly simplistic and poorly defined histologic criteria, DIP is currently a mixed bag of smoking-related diseases and unrelated processes in never-smokers. Reason 3: DIP obfuscates the modern concept that smoking causes some forms of parenchymal lung disease. Despite the fact that >80% of cases of DIP are caused by smoking, it is currently classified as a ‘smoking-related idiopathic interstitial pneumonia’, an oxymoron. Reason 4: The premise that the presence of numerous macrophages within airspaces defines an entity creates problematic histologic overlap with other lung diseases that may feature prominent airspace macrophages. Reason 5: DIP is outdated. It was coined in 1965, when many entities in interstitial lung disease had not been described, smoking-related interstitial lung disease was an unknown concept, computed tomograms of the chest had not been introduced and immunohistochemistry was unavailable. We suggest a way forward, which includes eliminating the term DIP and separating smoking-related lung abnormalities (including accumulation of pigmented airspace macrophages) from cases characterised by numerous non-pigmented macrophages in never-smokers. The laudable goal of smoking cessation is not served well by muddying the relationship between smoking and lung disease with inaccurate, outdated terminology.

  • lung
  • smoking
  • pathology
  • surgical

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