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RATIONALE: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive fibrotic lung disease. Patients present at different stages and disease course is varied. Blood monocytes have been linked to all-cause mortality, and neutrophils to progression to IPF in patients with the indeterminate for usual interstitial pneumonia CT pattern. OBJECTIVE: To determine association between blood monocytes, neutrophils and lymphocytes levels (and their derived indexes), with lung function decline and mortality in IPF. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of an IPF cohort (n=128) who had their first clinical visit at the Oxford Interstitial Lung Disease Service between 2013 and 2017. Association between blood monocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes and derived indexes (within 4 months of visit) and decline in forced vital capacity (FVC) and all-cause mortality were assessed using Cox proportional hazard regression analysis. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to assess time-to-event for 10% FVC decline and mortality for patients dichotomised to high and low leucocyte counts. RESULTS: Median length of follow-up was 31.0 months (IQR 16.2-42.4); 41.4% demonstrated FVC decline >10% per year and 43.8% died. In multivariate models (incorporating age, gender and initial FVC%), raised neutrophils, lymphopaenia and neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio were associated with FVC decline (p≤0.01); while both monocytes and neutrophil levels (and their derived indexes) were associated with all-cause mortality (p≤0.01). Kaplan-Meier analysis also showed association between neutrophils and its derived indexes but not monocyte, with FVC decline. CONCLUSION: Blood neutrophil and lymphopaenia are more sensitive than monocytes as prognostic indicators of disease progression in those with established IPF.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open Respir Res

Publication Date





innate immunity, interstitial fibrosis, neutrophil biology, Disease Progression, Humans, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Lymphocytes, Neutrophils, Retrospective Studies, Tomography, X-Ray Computed