The first case of multiple pulmonary granulomas with amyloid deposition in a dental technician; a rare manifestation as an occupational lung disease

Taizou Hirano, Tadahisa Numakura, Hiroshi Moriyama, Ryoko Saito, Yutaka Shishikura, Jun Shiihara, Hisatoshi Sugiura, Masakazu Ichinose

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Occupational lung diseases, such as pneumoconiosis, are one of the health problems of dental workers that have been receiving increasing interest. Pulmonary amyloidosis is a heterogenous group of diseases, and can be classified into primary (idiopathic) and secondary (associated with various inflammatory diseases, hereditary, or neoplastic). To date, the development of pulmonary amyloidosis in dental workers has not been reported. Case presentation: A 58-year-old Japanese female presented with chest discomfort and low-grade fever that has persisted for 2 months. She was a dental technician but did not regularly wear a dust mask in the workplace. Chest X ray and computed tomography revealed multiple well-defined nodules in both lungs and fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography revealed abnormal FDG uptake in the same lesions with a maximal standardized uptake value (SUV [max]) of 5.6. We next performed thoracoscopic partial resection of the lesions in the right upper and middle lobes. The histological examination of the specimens revealed granuloma formation with foreign body-type giant cells and amyloid deposition that was confirmed by Congo red staining and direct fast scarlet (DFS) staining that produce apple-green birefringence under crossed polarized light. Because there were no other causes underlying the pulmonary amyloidosis, we performed electron probe X-ray microanalysis (EPMA) of the specimens and the result showed silica deposition in the lesions. Based on these results, we finally diagnosed the patient with pulmonary granulomas with amyloid deposition caused by chronic silica exposure. Afterward, her symptoms were improved and the disease has not progressed for 2 years since proper measures against additional occupational exposure were implemented. Conclusions: Our case presented three important clinical insights: First, occupational exposure to silica in a dental workplace could be associated with the development of amyloid deposition in lung. Second, EPMA was useful to reveal the etiology of amyloid deposition in the lungs. Last, proper protection against silica is important to prevent further progression of the disease. In conclusion, our case suggested that occupational exposure to silica should be considered when amyloid deposition of unknown etiology is found in the lungs of working or retired adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 22


  • Amyloid deposition
  • Dental technician
  • Pulmonary granulomas
  • Silica


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