Indium is a metal used as a compound called indium-tin oxide for liquid crystal display. Its inhalation causes lung toxicity, resulting in a new occupational lung disease called indium lung. Although the carcinogenicity of indium has been reported in an animal model, its carcinogenicity in humans is unknown.
This is the first reported case of a primary lung cancer originating from indium lung. In this report, we describe a 46-year-old man with interstitial pneumonia-type indium lung diagnosed 16 years ago. The initial symptom was left chest pain, and computed tomography showed a mass adjacent to the aorta with left pleural effusion. Specimens collected using video-assisted thoracoscopy revealed an adenocarcinoma with a high expression of programmed cell death-ligand 1 (cT4N0M1a stage IVA). Although the lesions showed a remarkable aggressive nature, the patient benefited from pembrolizumab, a monoclonal antibody against programmed cell death 1, which was used as second-line therapy for 2 years.
It is important for clinicians to be aware of lung cancer development in indium-exposed workers or in patients with indium lung, as this could have an aggressive behavior. Treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors is an option even in patients with interstitial pneumonia-type indium lung.