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1.  Particulate matter is associated with sputum culture conversion in patients with culture-positive tuberculosis 
Emerging risk factors for tuberculosis (TB) infection, such as air pollution, play a significant role at both the individual and population levels. However, the association between air pollution and TB remains unclear. The objective of this study was to examine the association between outdoor air pollution and sputum culture conversion in TB patients. In the present study, 389 subjects were recruited from a hospital in Taiwan from 2010 to 2012: 144 controls with non-TB-related pulmonary diseases with negative sputum cultures and 245 culture-positive TB subjects. We observed that a 1 μg/m3 increase in particulate matter of ≤10 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) resulted in 4% higher odds of TB (odds ratio =1.04, 95% confidence interval =1.01–1.08, P<0.05). The chest X-ray grading of TB subjects was correlated to 1 year levels of PM10 (R2=0.94, P<0.05). However, there were no associations of pulmonary cavitation or treatment success rate with PM10. In subjects with TB-positive cultures, annual exposure to ≥50 μg/m3 PM10 was associated with an increase in the time required for sputum culture conversion (hazard ratio =1.28, 95% confidence interval: 1.07–1.84, P<0.05). In conclusion, chronic exposure to ≥50 μg/m3 PM10 may prolong the sputum culture conversion of TB patients with sputum-positive cultures.
PMCID: PMC4708199  PMID: 26792994
air pollution; chest X-ray; particulate matter; sputum culture; tuberculosis
2.  Cigarette smoke is a risk factor for severity and treatment outcome in patients with culture-positive tuberculosis 
Smoking has been associated with tuberculosis (TB); however, the effects of smoking on the effectiveness of TB treatment remain unclear.
Materials and methods
Data were retrieved from case notes and interviews of subjects registered in the TB-reporting system from 2010 to 2012. Study cases were defined as subjects with TB-positive sputum cultures, whereas the controls were defined as subjects with non-TB-related pulmonary diseases. Statistical analyses included logistic regression and multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression models.
A total of 245 cases with cultures positive for TB and 114 controls with non-TB-related pulmonary diseases and negative sputum cultures were recruited. Current smokers had the highest failure rate (33%) for TB treatment, and they had the most severe pulmonary lesions based on chest X-ray grading. Current smokers had a 1.36-fold (95% confidence interval 1.03–2.36, P<0.05) higher odds ratio for cultures positive for TB compared with nonsmokers. In subjects with TB-positive cultures, current smoking was associated with an increase in treatment days required for cultures to convert from positive to negative (hazard ratio 1.12, 95% confidence interval 1.03–1.39; P<0.05).
Longer periods of treatment may be required for TB patients who are current smokers.
PMCID: PMC4603723  PMID: 26504395
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; cigarette; immunity; chest X-ray
3.  Proteoglycan 4 is a diagnostic biomarker for COPD 
The measurement of C-reactive protein (CRP) to confirm the stability of COPD has been reported. However, CRP is a systemic inflammatory biomarker that is related to many other diseases.
The objective of this study is to discover a diagnostic biomarker for COPD.
Sixty-one subjects with COPD and 15 healthy controls (10 healthy non-smokers and 5 smokers) were recruited for a 1-year follow-up study. Data regarding the 1-year acute exacerbation frequency and changes in lung function were collected. CRP and the identified biomarkers were assessed in the validation COPD cohort patients and healthy subjects. Receiver operating characteristic values of CRP and the identified biomarkers were determined. A validation COPD cohort was used to reexamine the identified biomarker. Correlation of the biomarker with 1-year lung function decline was determined.
Proteoglycan 4 (PRG4) was identified as a biomarker in COPD. The serum concentrations of PRG4 in COPD Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stages 1+2 and 3+4 were 10.29 ng/mL and 13.20 ng/mL, respectively; 4.99 ng/mL for healthy controls (P<0.05); and 4.49 ng/mL for healthy smokers (P<0.05). PRG4 was more sensitive and specific than CRP for confirming COPD severity and acute exacerbation frequency. There was no correlation between CRP and PRG4 levels, and PRG4 was negatively correlated with the 1-year change in predicted forced vital capacity percent (R2=0.91, P=0.013).
PRG4 may be a biomarker for identification of severity in COPD. It was related to the 1-year forced vital capacity decline in COPD patients.
PMCID: PMC4583110  PMID: 26451097
C-reactive protein; exacerbation; inflammation; lung function decline
4.  Inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain 4: a novel biomarker for environmental exposure to particulate air pollution in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory disease that is correlated with environmental stress. Particulate matter ≤10 μm (PM10) is considered to be a risk factor for COPD development; however, the effects of PM10 on the protein levels in COPD remain unclear. Fifty subjects with COPD and 15 healthy controls were recruited. Gene ontology analysis of differentially expressed proteins identified immune system process and binding as the most important biological process and molecular function, respectively, in the responses of PM10-exposed patients with COPD. Biomarkers for PM10 in COPD were identified and compared with the same in healthy controls and included proteoglycan 4 (PRG4), inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain 4 (ITIH4), and apolipoprotein F (APOF). PRG4 and ITIH4 were associated with a past 3-year PM10 exposure level. The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that ITIH4 is a sensitive and specific biomarker for PM10 exposure (area under the curve [AUC] =0.690, P=0.015) compared with PRG4 (AUC =0.636, P=0.083), APOF (AUC =0.523, P=0.766), 8-isoprostane (AUC =0.563, P=0.405), and C-reactive protein (CRP; AUC =0.634, P=0.086). ITIH4 levels were correlated with CRP (r=0.353, P=0.005), suggesting that ITIH4 may be involved in an inflammatory mechanism. In summary, serum ITIH4 may be a PM10-specific biomarker in COPD and may be related to inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4418394  PMID: 25977605
air pollution; apolipoprotein F; C-reactive protein; inflammation; proteoglycan 4; oxidative stress
5.  Tumor-associated macrophages in stage IIIA pN2 non-small cell lung cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery 
Purpose: Most of the patients with stage IIIA pN2 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) develop recurrence after surgery. It is not clear whether post neoadjuvant chemotherapy tumor-associated macrophages is associated with recurrence. Patients and Methods: Stage IIIA pN2 NSCLC patients underwent cisplatin/docetaxel neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery were retrospectively enrolled. Immunohistochemical staining of CD68 was used to identify macrophages in surgical resected stored tissues. Results: The objective response rate of cisplatin/docetaxel was 68%, overall median disease-free survival (DFS) was 13.1 months and median overall survival (OS) 36.8. months. Multiple Cox regression analysis showed low total macrophage numbers and mediastinal lymph nodes downstaging were independent factors for longer DFS, whereas high islet/stromal macrophages ratio was an independent facto for OS. In patients downstaged to pN0, low total macrophage numbers was also associated with longer DFS. Conclusions: Low total macrophage number is an independent factor for better DFS in pN2 stage IIIA NSCLC patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgical resection, which association was kept in those downstaged to pN0. Further studies are warrant to confirm the predictive role of TAMs and their potential causative role in tumor recurrence.
PMCID: PMC4212933  PMID: 25360223
Lung cancer biology; immunochemistry; immunology
6.  CD14+S100A9+ Monocytic Myeloid-derived Suppressor Cells and Their Clinical Relevance in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Rationale: Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are a heterogeneous family of myeloid cells that suppress T-cell immunity in tumor-bearing hosts. Their clinical relevance remains unclear.
Objectives: To identify subtypes of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and their clinical relevance.
Methods: CD11b+CD14− and CD11b+CD14+ cells, determined and phenotyped by fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis, in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of treatment-naive patients with advanced NSCLC were correlated with clinical data. T-cell activation in response to CD3/CD28 costimulation was determined by carboxy-fluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester (CFSE) staining and ELISA analysis of IFN-γ. The percentage of CD11b+CD14+S100A9+ cells in PBMCs was correlated with and tested as a predictor for treatment response in a cohort of patients prospectively receiving first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy.
Measurements and Main Results: Patients with NSCLC had a significantly higher ratio of CD11b+CD14+ cells than healthy subjects, which was correlated with poor performance status and poor response to chemotherapy. The depletion of these cells in the PBMC reversed the suppression of CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Isolated CD11b+CD14+ cells suppressed CD8+ T-cell proliferation and IFN-γ production, and the former effect was attenuated by the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) inhibitor aminoguanidine hydrochloride, arginase inhibitor N-hydroxy-nor-l-arginine (nor-NOHA), and blocking antibodies for IL-4Rα+ and IL-10. CD11b+CD14+ cells were monocyte-like, expressing CD33+, CD15−/low, IL-4Rα+, and S100A9+ and producing iNOS, arginase, and several cytokines. The ratio of S100A9+ cells positively correlated with the suppressive ability of the CD11b+CD14+ cells, was associated with poor response to chemotherapy, and predicted shorter progression-free survival.
Conclusions: CD14+S100A9+ inflammatory monocytes in patients with NSCLC are a distinct subset of MDSCs, which suppress T cells by arginase, iNOS, and the IL-13/IL-4Rα axis. The amount of these inflammatory monocytes is associated with poor response to chemotherapy.
Clinical trial registered with (NCT 01204307).
PMCID: PMC4132576  PMID: 22955317
non–small cell lung cancer; myeloid-derived suppressor cell; S100A9; cancer immunity
7.  Feasibility of Bispectral Index-Guided Propofol Infusion for Flexible Bronchoscopy Sedation: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27769.
There are safety issues associated with propofol use for flexible bronchoscopy (FB). The bispectral index (BIS) correlates well with the level of consciousness. The aim of this study was to show that BIS-guided propofol infusion is safe and may provide better sedation, benefiting the patients and bronchoscopists.
After administering alfentanil bolus, 500 patients were randomized to either propofol infusion titrated to a BIS level of 65-75 (study group) or incremental midazolam bolus based on clinical judgment to achieve moderate sedation. The primary endpoint was safety, while the secondary endpoints were recovery time, patient tolerance, and cooperation.
The proportion of patients with hypoxemia or hypotensive events were not different in the 2 groups (study vs. control groups: 39.9% vs. 35.7%, p = 0.340; 7.4% vs. 4.4%, p = 0.159, respectively). The mean lowest blood pressure was lower in the study group. Logistic regression revealed male gender, higher American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status, and electrocautery were associated with hypoxemia, whereas lower propofol dose for induction was associated with hypotension in the study group. The study group had better global tolerance (p<0.001), less procedural interference by movement or cough (13.6% vs. 36.1%, p<0.001; 30.0% vs. 44.2%, p = 0.001, respectively), and shorter time to orientation and ambulation (11.7±10.2 min vs. 29.7±26.8 min, p<0.001; 30.0±18.2 min vs. 55.7±40.6 min, p<0.001, respectively) compared to the control group.
BIS-guided propofol infusion combined with alfentanil for FB sedation provides excellent patient tolerance, with fast recovery and less procedure interference.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials. gov NCT00789815
PMCID: PMC3223212  PMID: 22132138

Results 1-7 (7)