alexa European Respiratory Society guidelines for the diagnosis and management of lymphangioleiomyomatosis
Pulmonology

Pulmonology

Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Medicine

Author(s): Johnson SR

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Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare lung disease, which occurs sporadically or in association with the genetic disease tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) 1, 2. Sporadic LAM affects ∼1 in 400,000 adult females; in TSC, LAM occurs in 30–40% of adult females 3, 4 and exceptionally in males and children 5, 6.

Patients with LAM usually develop progressive dyspnoea and recurrent pneumothorax, chylous collections and occasional haemoptysis 1. Extra pulmonary lymphadenopathy and cystic masses of the axial lymphatics termed lymphangioleiomyomas can result in abdominal and pelvic lymphatic obstruction 7. LAM is often associated with angiomyolipoma in the kidneys 8, and an increased frequency of meningioma 9. LAM varies in clinical features and rate of progression: this together with an absence of clear prognostic factors results in patients being given conflicting information about prognosis.

Diagnosis is made by tissue biopsy (generally from the lung but occasionally from lymph nodes or lymphangioleiomyomas) and/or a combination of history and high-resolution computed tomography scanning (HRCT). Pathological diagnosis relies on characteristic LAM cell morphology and positive immunoreactivity to smooth muscle actin and HMB-45 antibodies. Increasingly HRCT is used to diagnose LAM without resorting to lung biopsy; however a number of conditions with multiple pulmonary cysts can mimic LAM.

As LAM is rare, there have been no controlled trials of its management. Supportive treatment includes management of airflow obstruction and hypoxaemia with bronchodilators and oxygen respectively, specific treatment for surgical or pleural complications including pneumo- and chylothorax, and interventional treatment of renal lesions 10, 11. As LAM is a disease of females and is thought to be accelerated by oestrogen, oophorectomy, tamoxifen, progesterone and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues have been used without evidence that they are effective. The recent finding of abnormalities in the TSC1/2 genes resulting in constitutive activation of the kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) 12, 13 has led to trials of mTOR inhibitors including sirolimus in patients with LAM and angiomyolipoma 14, 15.

This article was published in ersjournals and referenced in Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Medicine

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