Haberman B, Doan ML, Smith EO, Schecter MG, Mallory GB, Elidemir O. Serum KL-6 level and the development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in lung transplant recipients.
Pediatr Transplantation 2010: 14:903–908. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
Abstract: KL-6 is a glycoprotein expressed by pulmonary epithelial cells, and its serum level has been used as a marker of disease activity in a variety of respiratory illnesses. Previously, we showed that KL-6 was elevated in lung transplant recipients diagnosed with BOS. In this study, we followed serum KL-6 levels and lung functions prospectively in lung transplant recipients who were within the first five-yr post-transplant and had no evidence of BOS at the time of study entry. Mean peak KL-6 levels were 596.16 ± 309.32 U/mL in the nine recipients who developed BOS compared to 352.41 ± 140.68 in 36 recipients who did not (p = 0.05). Six of the nine patients with BOS had an absolute rise in KL-6 above baseline level >200 U/mL compared to two of the 37 who had the same increase in KL-6 but did not develop BOS. Using the 200 U/mL elevation of KL-6 from baseline as a threshold for a positive test would produce a sensitivity of 67%, specificity of 95%, PPV of 75%, and a NPV of 92%. In addition, mean KL-6 levels of patients during acute rejection were not significantly elevated compared to the prerejection mean KL-6 levels (p = 0.71). We conclude that serum KL-6 is a relatively specific marker of BOS in lung transplant recipients.